David Zaslav defends Warner Bros. Discovery cuts: ‘We did not get rid of any show that was helping us’ By Kevin Fitzpatrick
BBC News, London Published duration 23 September 2019
image copyright Getty Images image caption Warner Bros. announced its biggest slate of TV shows in a year
A top Hollywood producer has defended the decision to trim the number of shows on the air at “too early a date”, saying they were “not being cancelled”.
Sir Ben Smith, president of Warner Bros Television Group, told the BBC the firm made “good TV” at a time when “the TV ecosystem is changing almost daily”.
In addition to its DC Universe streaming service, Warner and its sister studio CBS were also cutting the number of hours they aired on the two big US broadcasters – in order to keep more shows on digital streaming services.
Sir Ben claimed the firm was also prioritising original content – saying that at the same time it was focusing more on developing original productions for other platforms.
“Our slate of original productions now stands at a million hours,” he said.
“We still believe in the good TV that can be developed and produced for other platforms.
“However, as we grow our audience in the US and UK, we’ve made the decision to focus those efforts on more original and compelling programming for our digital platforms.
“That means there will be fewer shows that are being shown on CBS in the United States.”
However, Warner Bros said during the TV season the company made fewer programmes than in the past year because it was prioritising original programming.
The US broadcaster said its schedules included “millions of hours of exclusive content”.
For example, the CBS drama starring Mark Wahlberg, Shooter, had a weekly viewership rating of 1.5 million people.
image copyright Getty Images image caption Mark Wahlberg stars in the CBS drama Shooter
Sir Ben said the “good programming” was also developing new formats for original programming for “multiple platforms”.
“We are developing a diverse range of original programs with a host of new formats, including dramas, comedy, docu-series and unscripted,” he said.
“All are going to reach a new audience on other platforms, including those of our parent network