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Speaking of HBO & HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys and his team, WBD President and CEO David Zaslav revealed that “we’re going to spend dramatically more” in 2022 and 2023 vs. 2020 and 2021. Execs, however, declined to give out any numbers, and a rep for HBO declined to elaborate on Zaslav’s comments.
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Zaslav added that the majority of Bloys’ top team has been “locked up”, although he declined to name any execs. The list is believed to include the key senior executives under Bloys.
“Quality is what matters. Quality is what Casey and that team is delivering. It’s the best team in the business. We’re doubling down on that HBO team. They’re all committed under contract and we’re going to spend dramatically more this year and next year than we spent last year in the year before,” Zaslav said.
He called Chief Content Officer Bloys a “unicorn.”
“The majority of the people on Casey’s team have been locked up, Casey is here for the next five years and we hope longer, He’s truly a unicorn, his ability to relate to talent, to make content better, his leadership, and you see it in what’s been coming out of HBO, and how it’s affecting the culture and what people were talking about.”
Zaslav pushed back against rumors that HBO Max’s programming slate would be cut significantly.
“There was some buzz today about HBO Max [that] we’re going to start doing less series and our strategy is to embrace and support and then drive the incredible success that HBO Max is having. It’s really to the culture and the taste of Casey and the team and the fact that they not only read the scripts, but they fight with all the creatives to make the content and storytelling as strong as possible. It’s at a very unique moment. We think it’s an extraordinary asset, an extraordinary advantage,” he added.
According to sources, the content spend on HBO Max, which will be gearing up for a merger with Discovery+ next summer, is expected to be up though the increase’s impact will likely be blunted by inflation. WBD remains committed to most of its original programming (except kids/family live-action and animation and direct-to-streaming movies) for the time being despite unsubstantiated recent speculation that the platform and its programming team may be gutted.
Zaslav also revealed that all of the creatives at the company now meet once a week on the studio lot. “That’s something that we’ve initiated with me on the lot, in person, in addition to the multiple overall staff meetings. But the creative meetings with everyone together has been really effective and a way to not only talk about storytelling, but talk about how do you share content and how do we help each other with great talent,” he added.
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