WBTV, Amazon Nearing DCU Animation Deal; "Harry Potter" Series Update

A brutal October saw Warner Bros. Discovery making dramatic cuts to Warner Bros. Television (WBTV), cutting 26% of its personnel (125 positions, 82 staff individuals being laid off & 43 vacant positions not being filled) across scripted, unscripted, and animation. A little more than a month later, WBTV head Channing Dungey is sharing some thoughts on where things are headed for WBTV. Speaking at the U.K. TV conference Content London, Dungey revealed that WBTV was closing in on a deal to supply DCU content to Amazon, discussed the growing interest in a "Harry Potter" series, and predicted big changes coming with regard to how productions are budgeted moving forward.

Image: Warner Bros. Discovery (DCU & Harry Potter)

On DCU Animated Content Coming to Amazon Speaks to WBD Head David Zaslav's Philosophy: "One of the interesting things that's exciting for me at this moment… the approach of the previous management was much more like 'Everything has to stay in-house, we don't want anything to go outside. David Zaslav has been much more open to our exploring all of our animated IP and being able to do it on different platforms. Certainly, HBO Max is going to be our first stop, but we're already in the process of closing a big deal with Amazon that's going to feature some of our DC-branded content in animation."

On Growing "Harry Potter" Series Interest: "There is a tremendous amount of ambition for that, and we are engaged in a number of different conversations. I wish I could tell you that something was imminent on the horizon, but there is a lot of interest and a lot of passion for it, so absolutely. What's great is that you see how the audience is so engaged and so ready. Our unscripted team did a fantastic 'Return to Hogwarts' special for HBO last year that resonated so tremendously, then we did a quiz show, 'The Tournament of Houses,' that Helen Mirren was the host for. The audience is ready, they want to go, so we're just to figure out what the right next step is." [Ed. Note: I think fans were thinking more on the scripted series side]

Expect Budgets & Talent Salaries to Go Under The Microscope: "I think the other tricky part is – in terms of the cast – is the expectation now what you're paying talent in the various roles. [That] has just continued to increase, which then affects your bottom line. And that makes it tricky. You know, I think there was a feeling for a while [that a project] needed to have a certain level of name in order for it to be successful."

Success is No Longer Defined by Streaming Subscribers: "I think about it as 'the great Netflix correction' that happened at the beginning of this year, where now people are looking differently at what defines success. It's not just about subscribers, for example, and I think the cost of productions… people are taking a much harder look at it than they have before. We were in a little bit of a spending bubble for a while there, and I think it's good; I think things are settling back down in ways that are helpful and more productive."

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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