HBO Max and Discovery+ will become one streaming service by summer 2023, David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, announced on an earnings call Thursday.
Details about the new service's cost, name, and rollout haven't yet been released, but executives tried to shut down speculation that it would mean a step away from the premium scripted shows that HBO has become known for. Thursday's news comes after it was revealed that HBO Max has been quietly removing some shows and movies, like Amsterdam and The Witches, for weeks. According to HBO Max Help's Twitter account, it's part of the process of the upcoming merger with Discovery+. A Twitter account called Is It Still on HBO Max? popped up Thursday, letting viewers know which shows and movies are gone.
Warner Bros. Discovery also said this week that it shelved Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, two movies that were meant to stream on HBO Max. According to Variety, the decision was made so the company can take a tax write-down.
In spite of those moves, company leaders said they won't be dropping "appointment viewing" comedies and dramas in favor of the reality and lifestyle shows that make up Discovery+. Zaslav said on Thursday's earnings call that the company wants to "embrace, support, and drive the success HBO Max is having," and that by merging it with Discovery+ the product will be "superb." HBO Max and Discovery+ have a combined 92 million subscribers, but they hope to reach 130 million subscribers by 2025 with a streaming service that has something for everyone — and keeps more people watching for longer.
Before the earnings call, people were preparing for drastic changes, mourning the HBO Max they know and love. The Wrap, citing anonymous insiders, suggested a major restructuring would be announced, with major layoffs to the HBO Max development team.
And even though it was reportedly nearly done, Batgirl will not be released due to changes at the corporate level. Actor Leslie Grace, who played the title role, wrote on Instagram that she is proud of the movie.
"I feel blessed to have worked among absolute greats and forged relationships for a lifetime in the process! To every Batgirl fan - THANK YOU for the love and belief, allowing me to take on the cape and become, as Babs said best, 'my own damn hero!'”