WBD cuts almost 30 HBO Max roles in Europe, including key commissioners

Antony Root

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is to cut almost 30 staff from its HBO Max operation in Europe.

The departures come a month after TBI revealed WBD was in the process of cutting Antony Root’s team in the region, with exits confirmed today including Johnathan Young and Christian Wikander, VP & commissioning editors of originals for Central Europe and Nordics, respectively.

Head of unscripted production at WarnerMedia EMEA, Annelies Sitvast, is also leaving, while Mia Edde, who was only recently appointed to lead content acquisitions in Turkey, has already left.

Root, whose team has been behind HBO Max shows such as Kamikaze, remains as head of original programming for EMEA, alongside Miguel Salvat and Vera Peltekian, commissioners for Iberia and France respectively.

The latter duo will continue to oversee originals, although there will be no shows ordered for WBD’s streaming operation. Instead, European originals and acquisitions will be managed by local linear and streaming teams.

Other long-standing execs remaining include Hanka Kastelicová, who leads on documentaries, and Steve Matthews, VP of scripted development.

The news, first reported by US trade Deadline, comes two months after WBD confirmed that original productions would be brought to an end across the Nordics, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey.

TBI then revealed that the global expansion of HBO Max had been stopped, with a roll-out in France abruptly halted earlier this year. Instead, the country is to receive a combined HBO Max and Discovery+ streamer, which is in the works.

The service will roll out in the US next summer, followed by Latin America later in 2023. European markets with HBO Max will follow in early 2024, with additional launches in key Asia Pacific territories and some new European markets coming later that same year.

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