gordita chronicles

HBO Max shifting away from live-action kids content

The streamer canceled a kids series from Eva Longoria that ran for one season, and is backing off the content genre for the "immediate future."
August 3, 2022

“Live-action kids and family programming will not be part of our focus in the immediate future,”  says an HBO Max spokesperson. And Kidscreen has confirmed that the streamer has canceled Sony Pictures Television’s comedy Gordita Chronicles (pictured) as part of this strategy shift.

The comedy, which ran for one season, features a 12-year-old Dominican girl who must adapt to life in a new country when her family moves to Miami. Actor Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) is an executive producer on the series and directed its pilot.

The company has also scrapped two big-budget films for younger viewers—live-actioner Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt—reportedly as part of a move to return to theatrical releases instead of straight-to-streaming.

This step back from live-action kids content at HBO Max comes on the heels of some major post-merger shakeups in Warner Bros. Discovery’s kids divisions. Tom Ascheim (president of kids, young adults and classics) left in May, and his remit was merged into the portfolio of Discovery’s chief lifestyle brand officer Kathleen Finch. She now oversees all linear nets, including Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

Several other staffers have also exited the company in recent months, including APAC head of kids Leslie Lee. The leadership changes come as Warner Bros. Discovery seeks to achieve US$3 billion in savings it projected when the companies merged in April.

In the ensuing months, HBO Max’s kids and family strategy has been split between ordering and acquiring animated and live-action content. It greenlit Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth from comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and picked up Silvergate Media’s animated Octonauts series for Latin America. But it also made moves to grow its live-action slate, ordering a new Degrassi series from WildBrain and teaming with Cartoon Network to commission a pair of American Girl specials, a musical comedy and two-part teen romance called B-Loved.

Interestingly, research firm Parrot Analytics has calculated that children’s content was one of the most in-demand genres on HBO Max in Q4 2021. With a 14.7% share of total demand, it was only topped by animation (15.4%), comedy (22.7%) and drama (24.9%).

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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