HBO Max cuts 14% of staff, or 70 employees, mainly in casting, acquisitions and reality TV divisions

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David Zaslav, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery talks to the media as he arrives at the Sun Valley Resort for the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 05, 2022 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
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Warner Bros. Discovery is eliminating 70 jobs at HBO Max, primarily from the division’s reality, casting and acquisitions departments, according to people familiar with the matter.

The job cuts, which amount to 14% of staff at the streamer, are part of a larger effort at Warner Bros. Discovery to eliminate overlap as HBO Max and Discovery+ come together as one streaming service. Discovery closed on its $43 billion acquisition of WarnerMedia in April. Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav has promised $3 billion in synergies from the merger.

Many of the employees who lost their jobs were members of teams that had been led by former HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly that no longer fit within the new structure of Warner Bros. Discovery, two of the people said. Reilly left the company in 2020.

Zaslav is combining HBO Max and Discovery+ to form a new streaming service that will launch in the U.S. in mid-2023. Discovery will provide the reality programming for that product, making HBO Max’s reality division unnecessary, the people said. HBO also frequently works directly with casting directors, rather than using internal people, and has phased out many of its so-called pay-one deals, in which it acquires licensed films — work done by its acquisitions department.

Other departments affected include business affairs, programming and production, one of the people said.

No shows will be canceled as part of the job cuts, the people said. The job cuts aren’t targeted at HBO Max’s scripted series or films.

An HBO Max spokesperson declined to comment.

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Sophie Tremblay

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