HBO Max has removed 36 shows and movies from its platform, including many children’s and family content such as sesame street spin off The show not too late with Elmobeloved Cartoon Network show OK KO! let’s be heroesand teen drama Generation. One of the most frustrating kills is the highly acclaimed and also downright amazing infinite train – which had already been pulled from airing on Cartoon Network, streamed only with little fanfare, and canceled after just four seasons.
The creators of these shows were caught off guard by this decision and rightly upset. Julia Pott, creator of fantastic slice-of-life series summer camp island, tweeted about the deletion.
“We worked for 5 years to make 100 animated episodes,” Pott wrote. “We worked late into the night, we let ourselves go, we were a family of hard-working artists who wanted to do something beautiful, and HBO MAX fired them all up like we were nothing. L animation is not nothing!
Not only were these shows deleted, but the move from announcement to actual deletion was so quick that many fans barely had time to react. It’s all part of Warner Bros.’ latest decision. Discovery to turn a profit, after laying off 14% of HBO Max staff and cancel the next bat girl film. Still, for the creators behind the shows, and for the fans who loved them, it feels especially cruel.
Wait, so those shows just left?
So, technically, full seasons and episodes of many of these shows are still available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes, but no one knows exactly for how long. And some of the shows, like summer camp island and Victor and Valentinoboth of which have new unaired episodes, aired on Cartoon Network.
But as of now, they’re nowhere to be found on HBO Max — and, in the case of infinite train and Mao Mao: Pure-hearted Heroes, all official Cartoon Network YouTube videos and all tweets mentioning the shows have been removed. Moreover, the infinite train the soundtrack disappeared from music streaming services and official Amazon DVD listings were removed.
Unfortunately, this is not a rare phenomenon in the world of entertainment media. For years, Disney locked physical versions of its movies in “the Disney Vault,” so it could re-release them from time to time in limited-time series. Old shows and movies that weren’t popular sometimes never had physical releases and then disappeared (looking at you, WITCH, my beloved).
But in this case, it’s a little weirder. Most of the titles on the list are only a few years old and are also beloved by critics. This is not some old forgotten thing, but a very deliberate decision on the part of Warner Bros. Discovery to cut losses – despite undermining the hard work of the people behind those shows and movies. And Warner Bros. Discovery apparently completely eradicating the existence of some of these shows from the internet is salt in the wound.
Why did Warner do this in the first place?
Warner Bros. Discovery will merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus into one big streaming service by 2023, which means some cleanup.
“As we strive to consolidate our catalogs of content on one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+. This will include removing certain content from both platforms” , said an HBO Max spokesperson in a statement.
Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t officially explained why they chose these particular shows to be removed, but one theory is that it still has to pay residuals to the cast and crew behind HBO Max Originals. By removing them entirely… Well, if no one is watching something, no one needs to get paid, right? Additionally, many of the shows on the shortlist fall under the kids and family banner and it could very well be that Warner Bros. Discovery wants to move away from this demographic.
According slides shared on Warner Bros. earnings call Discovery, the company says HBO’s content is geared toward adult male audiences, while Discovery’s is geared toward adult females. A theory that CNBC reported was that, to maximize profits, Warner Bros. Discovery decided that the kids and family content wasn’t worth pursuing and simply removed most of it instead. It may be that the reason Warner Bros. Discovery has attempted to completely erase some of these shows from its online footprint is that it wants to sell the rights, and they might live on elsewhere, but that’s no guarantee.
But I love these shows! What can I do?
If you want to legally support your favorite shows, you can still buy plenty of episodes from Amazon, iTunes, or Google Play — for now. Some DVD sets are available from third-party sellers, so buy them if you can. Tune into Cartoon Network for episodes of summer camp island and Victor and Valentino when they are released. Follow the creators of these shows for updates and see their suggestions for the best way to watch these shows and support their work.
The full list of removed content is below:
- 12 dates of Christmas
- About last night
- Aquaman: King of Atlantis
- Close enough
- Detention adventure
- Ellen’s Next Great Designer
- Elliott of Earth
- Esme & Roy
- The Fungi!
- The restlessness of the generation
- infinite train
- Little Helen
- Mao Mao, Hero of Pure Heart
- The mess goes to Okido
- Mia’s Magical Playground
- Powerful Master Swords
- My dinner with Hervé
- My mother, your father
- OK KO! let’s be heroes
- The Ollie & Moon Show
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
- The Pursuit of Happiness by Ravi Patel
- Select sesame street promotions
- Do it big, do it small
- To share
- summer camp island
- The show not too late with Elmo
- The Rabbit on the Run (special)
- Tig and Seek
- uncle grandfather
- Victor and Valentino
- Dear Dinosaurs