‘Little Ellen’ Scrapped At HBO Max Ahead Of Season 3 Premiere As Questions Surround Future Of Streamer’s Animation Strategy

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EXCLUSIVE: Ellen won’t be growing up on HBO Max.

Deadline understands the streamer has canceled animated series Little Ellen ahead of its Season 3 premiere.

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The third season of the show, which centers on a 7-year-old Ellen DeGeneres, was completed and previously had been dated to air in June, but its premiere was pushed back.

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It is the latest example of Warner Bros. Discovery canceling a show or movie that has already been produced. Deadline revealed that reality series The Big D had been axed by two weeks ahead of its premiere, ostensibly for tax reasons, allowing the company to write down the costs of the project.

On Tuesday, this went to another level after the company scrapped high-profile DC movie Batgirl.

Essentially, WBD is able to write off the costs of certain productions as part of a “purchase accounting” maneuver because of the merger and this opportunity expires in mid-August, as described by my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro in his reporting around the Leslie Grace-fronted film.

The move brings with it question marks around HBO Max’s animated strategy. Deadline understands that a number of other projects may be affected. It follows a move out of live-action kids and family programming for the streamer, on the back of the cancellation of Gordita Chronicles. 

Little Ellen was ordered in 2019 as part of a trio of Ellen DeGeneres-related projects for HBO Max including Ellen’s Home Design Challenge and First Dates Hotel.

Its first season of ten episodes launched in September 2021 and its second season launched in March 2022.

Produced by Ellen Digital Ventures and Warner Bros. Animation, it was one of the latter’s first preschool series in some time. The show follows a “hilarious” and “imaginative” seven-year-old Ellen, who finds fun and adventure in New Orleans with her wise and eccentric Gramsy, musical best friend Freckle, fashion-forward cousin Becky and clever cat Charlie.

It features the voices of Laurel Emory, Johanna Colon, JeCobi Swain and June Squibb.

Warner Bros. Discovery was not commenting on the news.

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