Tuca & Bertie Showrunner Calls Warner Bros. Discovery Fusion

The showrunners of ‘Tuca & Bertie’, ‘Gordita Chronicles’ and ‘Whistleblower’ have come together under WGA West to call out how they believe the merger that created Discovery of Warner Bros. led to the abrupt cancellations of their series.

The comments came in a new “Broken Promises Bulletin” — an addendum to a December 2021 report on the harms of mega-mergers — released Monday by the Writers Guild of America West, titled “How Warner Bros. Discovery Merger Hurts Workers and Diversity.”

“The victims of this mega-merger include many projects created by, featuring and/or centering the experiences of women and people of color,” the post reads, citing several titles that have been dropped by the David-led company. Zaslav since April. 2022 WarnerMedia and Discovery merger closes, “including ‘Batgirl,’ one of the very few mainstream superhero films to feature a Latina lead actress; ‘Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,’ one of the few late-night shows hosted by women; “Gordita Chronicles,” a series about a Dominican immigrant family whose showrunner was a Latina; “Tuca & Bertie,” an animated series featuring two leading women of color, and “Chad,” a series about Americans in the Middle East created by and starring Iranian-American comedian Nasim Pedrad.

WGA’s resurgent concerns over the WBD merger come amid talk of a possible industry-wide writers’ strike.

In a statement to The variety, WBD said it is “committed to facilitating greater inclusion of underrepresented groups in greater numbers in front of and behind the camera. While there is always more work to be done, we are proud that a so many of our diverse creative partners have recently been honored with awards and nominations at the Emmys, Golden Globes, GLAAD and NAACP.And, earlier this month, the WGA itself recognized our shows and our diverse production teams. writing with 14 Writers Guild Award nominations across 12 original titles We will continue to develop diverse writing talent and create inclusion across the industry Our global pipeline programs are dedicated to providing pathways for creatives underrepresented in a variety of categories, including writing, music supervision, production, show management and hosting – all with the common goal of ensuring that more marginalized creatives have the opportunity to learn ndre and earn a place in Warner Bros. Discovery and the industry as a whole.

See the creators’ written claims in full below and read the WGA addendum in full here.

“I got into television to counter the prevailing negative stereotypes about Latino communities and say
stories like “Gordita Chronicles”, which features a young Dominican girl who immigrates with her family
Miami. The showrunner and I did everything in our power to prepare the show for success, and the first
the season was showered with positive reviews and high viewership. But after the merger, HBO Max received a new mandate from its management at Discovery to cut costs, and Gordita Chronicles was canceled just five weeks after it first aired, and will now even be pulled from the platform. Studio executives claimed the cancellation reflected HBO’s “rebranding” — by implication, away from shows about Latino families. This merger provided some pretty stark and immediate evidence that industry consolidation not only hurts diversity and inclusion, but can also contribute to the erasure of Latino America.

— Claudia Forestieri, Creator and Executive Producer of “Gordita Chronicles”

“I originally created ‘Tuca & Bertie’ for Netflix, but when they canceled it after just one season, we fought
for the series to be picked up on the Warner’s Adult Swim network. The female-led series had been a cult hit and a critical darling – Warner execs knew it needed publicity support and time to grow viewership in the dominated adult animation space. by men. But the merger took place just before the launch of the final season, and almost everyone who worked in the “Tuca & Bertie” marketing team was fired. Then several of the show’s top executives at Adult Swim and HBO Max left in turmoil. Planned marketing projects to promote the new season did not take place. Then we learned that the show had been cancelled. It’s already harder for female-centric shows, and this merger cost us the support we needed to thrive.

— Lisa Hanawalt, creator and executive producer of “Tuca & Bertie”

“I created a drama focused on women lawyers and activists who fought against a culture of sexual harassment and corruption in the US military, making historic gains after the murder of Mexican American soldier Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood. After a bidding process with multiple outlets, I sold Whistleblower to HBO Max in February 2021. During development, we received nothing but compliments from our executives. The leaders were three women from BIPOC, and it was a story I was excited to tell. Even so, the series was canceled shortly after the merger, before it went into production. Press speculation is that the new company is focusing more on what is considered “Central American” content. But the black, Asian and Latin communities are also Central American.

— Moisés Zamora, creator and executive producer of “Whistleblower”

The new WGA report concludes with the following statement: “The series of mergers that got us here – first the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger, then the $43 billion WarnerMedia Discovery merger – each promised to create a better competitor, but instead gave up the merged entity went into debt and focused on cost cutting to streamline these disastrous business decisions.Yet the media merger madness does not shows no signs of slowing; the latest industry speculation is that Comcast may next seek to acquire Warner Bros. Discovery. Absent government intervention, this cycle of reactive consolidation will likely continue until it only three or four companies are left controlling all content, while content creators and consumers pay the price for these costly mergers.

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