The Warner Bros. Discovery merger is hurting female-led POC series, some say
“Victims of the megamerger include many projects created by and/or focused on the experiences of women and people of color,” the WGA added to the report.
The creators of “Tuca & Bertie,” “Gordita Chronicles,” and “Whistleblower” have released a statement saying the Warner Bros. Discovery merger has had a disastrous effect on female POC showrunners.
The title of the statements published as a supplement to the Writers Guild of America’s Dec. 21 report on the effects of megamergers is: “How is the Warner Bros. Discovery merger hurting workers and diversity?.” The report claims that the WBD merger failed to prioritize female-led series featuring stars of color and ultimately led to the show’s cancellation.
“Victims of Megafusion includes a number of projects created by, featuring and/or centered on the experiences of women and people of color,” the statement said, citing several projects, including “Batgirl,” one of the few mainstream superhero films to feature a Latina protagonist; “Full Frontal” with Samantha Bee, one of the female-led late-night shows; “Gordita Chronicles,” a series about a Dominican immigrant family hosted by a Latina woman; “Tuca & Bertie,” an animated series featuring two women of color, and “Chad,” a series about Middle Eastern Americans created and starring Iranian-American comedian Nasim Pedrad, were canceled.
The comments are contained in the report’s new “Broken Promises Bulletin,” adding that “less than a year later, the company has instead deleted, withdrawn or written off $2 billion in content and laid off hundreds of workers” since the merger. closed. Much of the content was driven by the POC, as the report claims. “The Warner Bros. Discovery merger starkly illustrates how consolidation increases the power of gatekeepers at the expense of marginalized voices,” it said.
“Tuca & Bertie” creator and executive producer Lisa Hanawalt wrote: “I originally created ‘Tuca & Bertie’ for Netflix, but when it was canceled after one season, we fought to bring the series to Warner’s Adult Swim network. let’s pick it up. The female-led series was a cult hit and a critical favorite — Warners knew they needed advertising support and time to grow viewership in the male-dominated adult animation field. But the merger happened just before the start of the latest season, and nearly everyone who worked on the “Tuca & Bertie” marketing team was fired. Then several CEOs at Adult Swim and HBO Max left amid the turmoil. The marketing projects planned to promote the new season did not materialize. Then we found out the show was cancelled. It’s already harder for women’s shows, and this merger has cost them the support they need to thrive.”
“Gordita Chronicles” creator and executive producer Claudia Forestieri added, “I got into television to fight negative stereotypes about the Latino community and to tell stories like ‘Gordita Chronicles,’ which features a young Dominican girl who immigrates to Miami with his family. The showrunner and I did everything we could to make the show a success, and the first season was met with positive reviews and strong ratings. But after the merger, HBO Max received a new mandate from Discovery executives to cut costs, and Gordita Chronicles was canceled just five weeks after first airing and is now being pulled from the platform. Studio executives said the cancellation reflected HBO’s “rebranding” — by definition, away from shows about Latino families. This merger provided quite stark and immediate evidence that industry consolidation not only hurts diversity and inclusion, but can contribute to the erasure of Latinos in America.”
“Whistleblower” creator and executive producer Moisés Zamora shared, “I created a drama centered on female lawyers and attorneys who fought against a culture of sexual harassment and corruption in the US military and achieved historic results after his assassination in Mexico. – American soldier Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood. I sold Whistleblower to HBO Max in February 2021 after a competitive bidding process with multiple deals. During the development, we received nothing but praise from our managers. The main characters were three BIPOC women and it was a story I was excited to tell. Despite all of this, the series was canceled shortly after the merger before it went into production. According to media speculation, the new company will focus more on “Central America” content. But the black, Asian and Latino communities are also Central America.
The WGA report concludes that “the latest industry speculation is that Comcast will next seek to acquire Warner Bros. Discovery,” and that it is this “non-government intervention” that maintains the conglomerate environment.
HBO Max recently announced that POC-led show Gossip Girl has been axed, with creator Joshua Safran publicly announcing that the series is looking for another platform.
Read the full WGA report here.
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