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HBO Max continues cuts with hundreds of Flintsones, Looney Tunes episodes

Warner Bros. Discovery removed the episodes on Dec. 31

A cartoon image of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in an early Looney Tunes episodes. Daffy is holding Porky so tight their faces are squeezing together and contorting. Image: Warner Bros. Animation
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Not even the slippery Bugs Bunny could evade the inevitable crawl of corporate consolidation and cost-cutting. On Dec. 31, 2022, HBO Max removed hundreds Looney Tunes shorts and Flintstones episodes from its streaming library. The cuts, which amount to roughly half the Looney Tunes library, are part of a larger culling of content on the streaming service that has largely focused on animation and family programming.

HBO Max no longer features seasons 16-31 of the original Looney Tunes shorts, Polygon independently confirmed, though seasons 1-15 are still available. The deletions culled several classic Looney Tunes shorts such as “What’s Opera, Doc?,” “Feed the Kitty,” “Rabbit of Seville,” “Duck Amuck,” and “One Froggy Evening,” Vulture noted. Additionally, HBO Max cut seasons four through six of the classic Flintstones.

The cut content was licensed to HBO Max under an intra-company deal that expired at the end of 2022, according to Variety. One initial report suggested that the episodes would be returning the service, but an HBO representative confirmed to The A.V. Club that the content would not come back to HBO Max any time “soon.”

The series are two of several animated series to be impacted by cost-cutting measures at Warner Bros. Discovery. In mid August, HBO Max culled 36 shows and movies from its platform, including Cartoon Network’s beloved Infinity Train and other cartoons like OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes and the teen drama Generation. Other family programming, like the Sesame Street spinoff The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo, has been cut as well.

The company started cutting costs when Warner Bros. merged with Discovery and CEO David Zaslav took over. Some shows, like the sci-fi drama Westworld, are slated to return on a different streaming service after leaving HBO Max.

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