The creators of series including Tuca & Bertie and Gordita Chronicles , which both were axed at Warner Bros Discovery, have taken the conglomerate to task for the recent moves.
Those joining the WGA West in blasting the WBD on Monday include Claudia Forestieri, creator and executive producer of Gordita Chronicles ; Lisa Hanawalt, creator and executive producer of Tuca & Bertie ; and Moisés Zamora, creator and executive producer of Whistleblower , a project in development at HBO Max.
Forestieri, whose Gordita Chronicles was canceled last summer after one season and subsequently pulled from HBO Max, said the merger of Warner Bros and Discovery "has provided pretty stark and immediate evidence that industry consolidation not only harms diversity and inclusion."
Hanawalt said that the female-led Tuca & Bertie , which was canceled in November after two seasons and being saved from its cancellation at Netflix, said, "It's already harder for shows centered on women, and this merger cost us the support we needed to thrive."
"I got into television to counter the negative mainstream stereotypes about Latino communities and tell stories like Gordita Chronicles, which features a young Dominican girl who immigrates with her family to Miami. The showrunner and I did everything in our power to set the show up for success, and the first season was showered with positive reviews and strong viewership numbers," said Forestieri.
"But after the merger, HBO Max was given a new mandate from its Discovery leadership to cut costs and Gordita Chronicles was cancelled just five weeks after first airing, and will now even be removed from the platform. The studio executives claimed the cancellation reflected HBO 'rebranding' — by implication, away from shows about Latino families. This merger has provided pretty stark and immediate evidence that industry consolidation not only harms diversity and inclusion, but can also contribute to the erasure of U.S. Latinos."
Added Hanawalt: "I originally created Tuca & Bertie for Netflix, but when they cancelled it after just one season, we fought to get the series picked up at Warner's Adult Swim network. The women-led series had been a cult hit and a critical darling — the Warner execs knew it needed advertising support and time to grow viewers in the male-dominated adult animation space. But the merger went through right before the most recent season launched, and almost everyone who worked on the Tuca & Bertie marketing team was laid off. Then several of the show's main executives at Adult Swim and HBO Max left in the turmoil. Planned marketing projects to promote the new season didn't happen. Then we learned the show had been cancelled. It's already harder for shows centered on women, and this merger cost us the support we needed to thrive."
Zamora's The Whistleblower told the story of Natalie Khawam and the case of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén. The project was the first for the Selena: The Series creator's new Zone One production company, focused on telling stories from people of Latin American, Indigenous and Afro-Latin descent.
"I created a drama that focused on women lawyers and advocates who fought against a culture of sexual harassment and corruption in the U.S. military, achieving historic gains after the murder of Mexican-American soldier Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood. After a competitive bidding process with multiple outlets, I sold Whistleblower to HBO Max in February 2021," said Zamora.
"During development, we received only compliments from our executives. The leads were three BIPOC women, and it was a story I was excited to tell. Despite it all, the series was canceled soon after the merger, before it went into production. The press speculation is that the new company is focusing more on what's seen as 'Middle America' content. But Black, Asian, and Latinx communities are Middle America too."
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