Entertainment Canceled by HBO: All the shows, movies and projects axed by Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022
Entertainment Canceled by HBO: All the shows, movies and projects axed by Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022
Canceled by HBO: All the shows, movies and projects axed by Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022
Ever since it was confirmed that broadcasting giants Warner Bros. and Discovery were to merge, the news has been filled with announcements of projects being slashed left, right and center.
The company now includes all of Warner Bros’ assets, including the movie and TV studio, HBO and HBO Max, news giant CNN, DC Entertainment, all of Discovery’s channels, which range from Animal Planet to the Food Network, sports and games divisions and theme parks. A lot.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who’d previously been CEO at Discovery, has been given the task of making the merger work and finding over three billion dollars in savings. To save that much money, you need to make some tough decisions and he has. He’s axed CNN+, the news channel’s fledgling streaming service and laid off hundreds of members of staff. As well as that, Warner Bros. Discovery’s content roster has taken a battering.
Long-running shows have been canceled, planned projects have been shelved, and, in the case of Batgirl, a blockbuster with a budget of over $70 million, will never see the light of day as Zaslav claws back money wherever he can.
With so many projects now shelved, we thought we’d compile them all and play tribute a year of cancelations. Here goes…
The Time Traveler’s Wife
While HBO has managed to shake off an unhappy adaptation and make a successful TV show from His Dark Materials, its do-over of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which had already been a failed movie, did not go well and the show was canceled after a single season.
The show, which was an adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s bestselling book, followed Rose Leslie’s Clare and Theo James’ Henry, a couple whose relationship is made rather complicated by Henry’s condition, a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel frequently and unpredictably, leaving Clare behind as he goes.
Steven Moffat, best known for his work on Doctor Who and Sherlock, adapted the series for HBO, while David Nutter, who’d been behind the camera on some of the most iconic episodes of Game Of Thrones, served as the key director.
Sadly, the reviews were terrible, with the show winding up holding a Rotten Tomatoes’ rating of 38% (opens in new tab) and reviewers laying into Moffat’s plotting, the dialogue and a book that they’ve almost universally branded as unfilmable.
Some books are best just left in the imaginations of their readers.
Raised By Wolves
Despite winning a second season that launched at the start of 2022, dystopian drama Raised By Wolves never really felt like it built much of a following and was canceled at the start of June.
The Ridley Scott-produced show, which followed two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious planet, was, for a time, the top performing original series on HBO Max, but the numbers clearly weren’t big enough to earn a third run.
One for the ages this.
Batgirl was a movie that was booked to go straight to HBO Max, with In The Heights’ star Leslie Grace in a starring role as Batgirl. Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon and a new vigilante in Gotham City, who begins to fight crime behind her father’s back.
Despite a budget approaching $100 million, a cast that included J. K. Simmons, Jacob Scipio, Brendan Fraser, and Michael Keaton, and Bad Boys For Life pair Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah in the director’s chair, it seems now that the movie will never be seen.
In August, Zaslav made the decision to scrap the Batgirl movie entirely and instead will be shelved in order to recoup taxes. Reports around the shelving have stated that studio’s new strategy regarding superhero tentpole films, feeling “neither big enough to feel worthy of a major theatrical release nor small enough to make economic sense in an increasingly cutthroat streaming landscape.
What a mess.
This one never got as far as production, but J. J. Abrams’ long-awaited return to TV now won’t be on HBO.
Demimonde was due to be Abrams’ first solo creation for television since his original hit Alias, but was canceled in July in an decision put down to spiralling costs, which had seen the planned budget for the first season of the show climb to over $200 million.
The series was to be built around a character named Olive Reed, who is torn away from her husband and daughter in a brutal scientific accident. Forced to unravel a conspiracy, she then gives everything to reunite with her family, now lost to a dark, distant other world.
Danielle Deadwyler, star of Netflix;s The Harder They Fall and HBO’s dystopian drama Station Eleven, was due to lead the way as Reed, with no other cast members on board yet.
Abrams is now free to shop Demimonde around, but you’d think that price tag might prove prohibitive.
Despite rave reviews and a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating (opens in new tab), HBO called time on Gordita Chronicles at the end of July.
This move had little to do with the show itself, with a spokesperson announcing the show end with a statement that said of HBO Max: “Live-action, kids and family programming will not be part of our programming focus in the immediate future.”
Set in the 1980s, the show followed 12-year-old Carlota “Cucu” Castelli who leaves her home in Santo Domingo to pursue the American Dream after her father’s work takes him to Miami.
The show starred Diana-Maria Riva and Olivia Goncalves, with Juan Javier Cardenas, Savannah Nicole Ruiz, Noah Rico, Cosette Hauer and Dascha Polanco in supporting roles.
You’d hope another network snaps it up.
This is in the same vein as Batgirl in the sense that the second season of sitcom Chad was done, shot, edited and hours away from being aired when the plug was pulled.
Chad starred former Saturday Night Live regular Nasim Pedrad as the title character, a Persian American boy struggling with the pressures and cutthroat daily life at high school while reconciling with his cultural identity and his mother’s rich dating life.
Chad first aired in April of 2021 and enjoyed good reviews for its first season, with an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). Ending that year ranked as 2021’s Number One new scripted cable comedy series, a second run was commissioned and that was set to premiere on July 11 on TBS (Turner Broadcasting Network), however, hours before that, Warner Bros. Discovery made the decision not to air the show and canceled it instead.
Why? Because TBS’ programming will now be given over to repeats, largely of current and former network police procedurals like Bones and Cold Case, with original content being either moved or canceled. Another victim of Zaslav’s mass cost-cutting.
Pedrad and her team are still looking for a new home for Chad.
For dystopian drama Snowpiercer, the story is the same as Chad, though this show will be allowed the dignity of a final season, perhaps because its worldwide rights are owned by Netflix.
The show, which is based on Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 movie of the same name, which itself was adapted from the 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, has run for three seasons thus far, but will end with a fourth in 2023.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future where the world has become a frozen wasteland, Snowpiercer follows the passengers on board a train of the same name, a huge, perpetually moving train that continues to circle the globe carrying the remnants of humanity. Designed and built by an eccentric billionaire named Mr. Wilford, the train has over 1,000 carriages, some are the height of luxury, others are barely held together, leading to constant strife and tension among the characters with class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival constantly playing out.
The show starred Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, with Mickey Sumner, Alison Wright, Iddo Goldberg and Sean Bean also in key roles.
Airing on TNT, a sister network to TBS, the plan is the same, scrap all original content on the network and focus on repeats.
Sally Wainwright’s epic period drama, one which HBO and the BBC co-produced together, got the boot after two seasons.
Led by Suranne Jones, Gentleman Jack told the story of Anne Lister, an entrepreneur and innovator in 1830s Northern England.
The show began with Lister returning to her hometown of Halifax with plans to restore her uncle’s estate of Shibden Hall. Expected to defer to male colleagues, Lister instead begins to make her mark as a fearsome landlady and entrepreneur, after she discovers that she is sitting on a vast quantity of coal.
An androgynous dresser and an LGBTQ+ trailblazer, Lister not only pursued a new fortune, but also a wealthy heiress named Ann Walker, who was played by Peaky Blinders’ Sophie Rundle.
The show was based on extensive diaries Lister kept during her life, which contained over four million words and were written largely in secret code, as they documented a series of clandestine relationships. After working through the diaries, Wainwright created the series.
Despite a passionate fanbase, the show was among HBO’s lowest-rated in terms of audience numbers and did not win a third outing.
Despite the presence of Greg Berlanti, the man credited with the success of Arrow, The Flash and more of DC’s TV offerings, and a deal for Kevin Smith to write and direct an episode, Strange Adventures was culled in August.
An anthology show that was set to feature lesser known DC characters, Smith’s episode was going to center on the characters of Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro, with Nicolas Cage being eyed for the role of Bizarro.
Smith, who revealed the show’s end on his podcast, seemed quite sanguine about it, saying “[Dropping ‘Strange Adventures’] kind of made sense to me — nobody necessarily knows these characters, and it sounded like an expensive show.” He also revealed that each episode of the show would have come with a price tag of between $16 and $20 million. You can see why Warners baulked at that.
Batman: Caped Crusader
Poor J. J. Abrams. First, Demimonde goes to the wall, then he lost Batman: Caped Crusader, an animated Batman series that Abrams and The Batman director Matt Reeves had set up at HBO Max.
Announced in 2021, the show was due to be a follow-up to Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 to 1995. Bruce Timm, who oversaw the original series, had teamed up with Abrams and Reeves to get the new venture off the ground.
At the same time as Batman: Caped Crusader got the chop, HBO Max executives also pulled the plug on planned animated projects: Merry Little Batman, The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie, Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Tunes Musical, Did I Do That to The Holidays: A Steve Urkel Story and The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie.
The Last O.G.
A vehicle for Tracy Morgan, The Last O.G. ended after four seasons. Although its now final season finished airing at the end of 2021, there were plans for a fifth season, but they were canceled in the spring.
Co-created and executive-produced by Jordan Peele, the show follow Morgan’s character, also named Tracy, who is released from prison after a 15-year spell and is shocked to see just how much the world had change.
Forced to reconnect with children he barely knows and a wife who has moved on, Tracy struggles to cope, but somehow finds his feet.
Starring alongside Morgan were Tiffany Haddish, Ryan Gaul and comedy legend Cedric the Entertainer.
When the show’s end was confirmed, sources told Deadline (opens in new tab) that the decision was unrelated to the cuts across TNT and TBS, but when a channel is being gutted of all original content, you have to assume it was a factor.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, TBS’ late-night talk show, was canceled after seven seasons in July.
Bee, who moved from her role as a correspondent on The Daily Show to take center stage on Full Frontal, a weekly late-night news magazine show, which was a mixture of satire and investigative reporting.
The show ran for 218 episodes, with the likes of Barack Obama, David Tennant and current Vice President Kamala Harris among those who appeared as guests over the show’s seven season run.
You know the story by now. TBS was being gutted of original content, including Full Frontal.
Scoob: Holiday Haunt
Another movie that was due to go straight to HBO Max, but canceled at the same time as Batgirl.
This festive feature-length Scooby Doo adventure had a cast that included Young Sheldon’s Iain Armitage, McKenna Grace and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Andre Braugher.
Set way before the snack-loving dog we all love became a detective, we were due to meet Scooby-Doo the puppy, who is celebrating his first Christmas with 10-year-old Shaggy and the gang.
Taken to a holiday-themed resort owned by Fred’s Uncle Ned. The kids are forced to solve a 40-year-old mystery to save the resort from a ghostly haunting.
Sadly, that mystery will never get solved.
Another low-key, but much-loved animated show that got its marching orders in the summer.
Close Enough was created by JG Quintel, the man behind cult comedy Regular Show, who also topped the bill of voice actors, which included Gabrielle Walsh, Jason Mantzoukas, Kimiko Glenn, Jessica DiCicco, James Adomian and Danielle Brooks.
The show followed Josh and Emily – and their young daughter Candice – a couple in their late 30s, who live in a Los Angeles duplex with their divorced friends, Alex and Bridgette. The show chronicled their lives as they dealt with everyday challenges, with things frequently taking surreal and sci-fi style turns.
Originally intended to air on TBS in 2017, after a series of delays, the show debuted on HBO Max in 2020. It got three seasons and had 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), but cutbacks are cutbacks.
Made For Love
Cristin Milioti, the eventual key player in How I Met Your Mother, starred in this sci-fi tinged black comedy, which was canceled after two seasons in the spring.
An adaptation of Alissa Nutting’s 2017 novel of the same name, Miloti plays Hazel Green, who decides to leave her tech billionaire husband and the compound they have shared for the last 10 years.
After leaving, she discovers her husband had her fitted with a tracking device. The device, which he implanted in her brain, allows him to track her location, watch her every move and monitor all her vital signs, making twice as hard for her to start a new life.
Canceled hot on the heels of Raised By Wolves, Made For Love, despite being very well-reviewed with 94% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab), didn’t build enough of a following to earn a longer run.
This pre-school animation, which explores the world through the eyes of TV star Ellen DeGeneres as a seven-year-old, was scrapped in August and removed from HBO Max completely.
The show’s 10-episode first season launched in September 2021 and its second season launched in March 2022, but a completed third and fourth season will now never see the light of day.
Joe Pera Talks With You
Cult comedy Joe Pera Talks With You got the chop in July, despite the show earning a perfect score for both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
First aired in 2018, the show consisted of 11-minute episodes where Pera, a comedian, played a fictionalized version of himself. This Pera lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and looks after the choir at a local middle school. In each episode, he talks directly to the viewer about everyday subject matter with topics ranging from dancing to beans to piano lessons. Along the way, viewers were introduced to his friends and neighbors.
The show aired on Adult Swim, the adult-oriented programming block of Cartoon Network with shows like Rick and Morty and American Dad, but was another victim of house cleaning.
Canceled in May, this movie was due to follow Batgirl in being a DC movie that went straight to HBO Max.
The Wonder Twins are Zan and Jayna, an extraterrestrial twin brother and sister superhero duo who come to Earth and use their powers to fight crime.
Their powers, which are activated when they press together special rings, can see Jayna transform into any animal, while Zan can become water in any state. The pair also have a pet monkey, Gleek, who assists in their crime-fighting activities.
Although the movie was canceled without a scene being shot, the production had Rampage and Black Adam writer Adam Sztykiel in place to make his directorial debut and Riverdale’s KJ Apa and 1883’s Isabel May in place as the titular characters.
But, with a budget of $75 million, Zaslav and his team decided it was too much to go straight to HBO Max and not enough to go to movie theaters.
Kill The Orange-Faced Bear
This comedy, which to be led by New Girl and Happy Endings star Damon Wayans Jr., was axed a week before production was due to start.
Booked for a spell on TBS, the comedy was to follow Wayans Jr.’s character on an epic revenge journey after a bear ate his girlfriend.
Did he kill the bear? Unless someone else picks up the show, we’ll never find out.