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HBO Max and Warner Bros. Discovery take the layoff bloodbath overseas

29 Europe-based staff will reportedly be let go as the studio shifts an HBO Max Originals-based model to a local commissioning one

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It appears the fire and brimstone of Warner Bros. Discovery’s current remodeling plan have officially gone global. The clandestine content eradication and widespread layoffs that have accompanied HBO Max’s high-profile restructuring have reached Europe, and 29 staff including key programming executives will soon leave their roles, Deadline reports. Earlier this month, Warner Bros. laid off around 14% of HBO’s staff—roughly 70 employees—in yet another creators-last decision aimed at hoisting the studio out of $3.4 billion in losses during the most recent quarter.

Among the most senior European staff departing their positions are HBO Max EMEA VP Original Programming and Production CEE Johnathan Young; VP and Commissioning Editor of Original Programming, Nordics Christian Wikander; and Head of Unscripted Original Production Annelies Sitvast. Mia Edde, who served for the past year as Executive Director of Content Acquisitions in Turkey, left the business previously. Overall, 29 employees are set to depart over the ensuing 15-month period.


It appears that the plan comes as part of a restructuring process aimed at a shift in investment from original programming to local European acquisitions and commissions. Original programming will henceforth be handled by the local linear and streaming teams onsite, and no commissions will be made solely in the name of streaming—a bad sign for any original HBO series bearing the qualifying moniker “Max.

Per an internal memo from HBO Max EMEA Head of Original Programming Antony Root obtained by Deadline, staff will depart after completing any and all projects they are currently working on. No new program developments will take place, putting the multiple greenlit-but-unannounced HBO shows from Young, Wikander and Sitvast in murky waters. More details on the future of these shows are expected soon, but if even retro Sesame Street and Batgirl couldn’t survive Warner’s sharp scythe, it’s worth watching any and all updates peeking through your fingers.