Animation at Warner Bros. Discovery has arguably taken the biggest hit of 2022. Back in October, the Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) laid off 82 scripted, unscripted, and animation employees and had no intentions to fill 43 positions that were vacant prior to the layoffs. Those 125 positions represented 26% of the company’s workforce across those units. Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Cartoon Network Studios (CNS) would merge going forward, and though the animation division still exists within the company, there were concerns for shows such as Harley Quinn.
Easily one of the biggest surprises when it comes to DC television is the animated Harley Quinn series, which captures the true spirit of the character and the world surrounding Quinn, Poison Ivy, and their goons. More importantly, the storytelling is top-notch, and the jokes are genuinely funny. Thankfully, the show has already been renewed for a fourth season, and despite David Zaslav going on a canceling spree, the animated series hasn’t been axed yet. However, the concern lies in the future following the next season, along with the other animated properties found on HBO Max. That notion is seemingly being taken care of as Deadline was able to get the news that Channing Dungey, a high-level executive at Warner Bros Television Studios, is currently in the midst of closing a major animation deal with Amazon for DC content, with the likelihood of some of the animated material premiering onto Amazon Prime.
Now, Dungey did make it clear that the studio is “exploring animated IP on different platforms”, but specifically name drops Amazon as the prime suitor, “With animation we used to be about staying in-house but now we are doing it on different platforms,” Dungey said. “HBO Max is the first stop but we are in the process of closing a big deal with Amazon featuring DC branded content in animation.” Dungey didn’t elaborate further on the deal, but the fact that he’s even speaking about this likely means that the signing could happen any day now. Though I particularly name-dropped the Harley Quinn series, there’s no guarantee that if the deal was made, then it would be one of the animated shows to make the move over to Amazon Prime. However, it is one of the more notable properties in the animated DC canon. Thus, one can’t help but wonder whether its future is still on HBO Max.
One of the more interesting names is the recently canceled animated series Batman: Caped Crusader. It was actually reported back in August that the series was being shopped around to different networks, with Apple TV+, Netflix, and Hulu all the front runners to purchase the series. The upcoming animated show was actually crafted by the man who made Batman: The Animated Series. It was one of the seven animated projects canceled by HBO Max: Merry Little Batman, The Day the Earth Blew Up: A Looney Tunes Movie, Bye Bye Bunny: A Looney Tunes Musical, Did I Do That to The Holidays: A Steve Urkel Story, and The Amazing World of Gumball: The Movie.
At the moment, there haven’t been any updates regarding a sale for the series or for any of the other canceled shows. Warners Brothers Discovery has been going through big changes with each of their divisions; James Gunn and Peter Safran are now the heads of DC Studios, and the animation properties are certainly one of their responsibilities. Gunn and Safran have given us nuggets on what the future of DC Studios will look like, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how these two carry the huge load into the future. Whether it’s HBO Max or Amazon, as long as the animation doesn’t stop, then it won’t matter which streaming service it plays on.
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