The Warner Bros. Discovery merger has been a rocky road, and there’s still a long way to go. We’ve lost an almost-finished Batgirl movie, had countless series canceled, and then projects started vanishing from HBO Max altogether.
But all is not lost. Much like Sonic the Hedgehog, WBD has decided it’s gotta go FAST. In December, Variety reported that some of its series would find a home on Free, Ad-Based Television (FAST) streamers. But which ones? Now we know.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, WBD has struck a deal with two prominent FAST streamers: The Disney-owned Tubi and the up-and-coming Roku. Tubi will roll out its content in February, while Roku left things at a vague “Spring 2023.”
It looks like the two streamers struck similar deals, with Tubi claiming Westworld, Raised by Wolves, Legendary, FBoy Island, The Nevers, Finding Magic Mike, Head of the Class, and The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Roku highlighting Westworld, The Bachelor, Cake Boss, Say Yes to the Dress and FBoy Island, among other titles. There’s some redundancy here, with both streamers getting some of the same titles.
This is arguably the best-case scenario for fans. HBO may have cast these series adrift, but now they’re free to watch. The ads may get annoying, but it’s an interesting second life for these titles and should make for a notable experiment. Will Westworld and friends enjoy a resurgence among viewers who found HBO cost-prohibitive, or will they remain just another part of the archives?
It’s also a huge get for the FAST streamers, whose libraries are often limited to low-budget series. A high-profile bundle from HBO would make for a big draw, comparable to FreeVee (Amazon’s FAST streamer) sporting Mad Men.
HBO apparently thought these series were too expensive to keep on their platforms, but an annoying expense for the big streamers could be a worthy investment for the industry’s ad-supported minnows. If a show is good enough, you’ll put up with anything to watch it, even commercial breaks.
If all goes well, this may become standard procedure for the countless streaming original series being churned out. When shows get too expensive to keep on a streaming platform they’ll be put out to pasture, and those deemed worthy of a second chance will get to land on an ad-supported platform. It’s a tragic fate, but more media being available to more people is always a good development, even if it’s a result of taking shows away from paying customers.
Westworld will be available to stream on Tubi in February 2023.