Cartoon Network Fans Livid As HBO Pulls More Shows With No Warning

in Entertainment, Movies & TV, Television

Deleted cartoons fading over the hbo max logo: ben 10, flapjack, the flintstones, foster's home for imaginary friends, infinity train

Credit: ITM/HBO/Cartoon Network

Fans of classic Cartoon Network cartoons were shocked and angry last night when they logged onto HBO Max to discover that more of their favorite shows were unavailable to watch.

The platform removed the 90’s original Dexter’s Laboratory, as well as all of the spinoffs of the popular show Ben 10, yesterday.

The original Ben 10 remains available for now. However, more classic shows are scheduled to be removed this week.

Twitter user @RiseFallNickBck reported last night:

Ben 10: Alien Force, Ultimate Alien, and Omniverse have all left HBO Max Much like Clarence, no reason has been given, and there’s no word on if they will come back to the merged Max service

This follows a string of removals that have been happening since August of last year, when HBO Max began removing shows as a cost-cutting measure ahead of their upcoming merger with Discovery+. That first round of cuts saw the loss of a selection of Sesame Street specials and Uncle Grandpa, as well as the cult hit Infinity Train – which could not be viewed anywhere else until it was quietly put back on YouTube in October.

That problem persists now, because often the only other option to watch shows that have had a home on one of the main network platforms is with an extremely expensive version of Hulu, or an extremely expensive purchase on Amazon – and when that option is presented, a large subset of fans will inevitably turn to piracy (especially in this economic climate.)

@BenTenNews on Twitter said:

As far as I’m aware, this means the only legal streaming option in the US is now Hulu (w/ the very expensive ‘Live TV’ package) In addition to having what HBO Max removed, it also shares Ben 10 and Ben 10 (2016) with Max Other than this, we just have the DVDs, paid VOD, and [pirate flag emoji]

Related: Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Confirm Return of Beloved Animated Spy Series

The issue fans are having with HBO CEO David Zaslav’s moves is twofold.

First, that he does not seem to care about the artistry and hard work behind the platform he is head of. He demonstrated this when he took over and canned the near-completely finished Batgirl film in the final stages of post production, wiping all trace of years of it from their servers, so that nobody who worked on the film had anything to show for it.

This makes all of the other abrupt removals, like The Flintstones and Westworld, that much more plainly callous.

Related: HBO Max’s Epic Rebranding Failure, and Warner Bros’ Stock Drop

Second, the company’s communication on these moves has been abysmal. Fans have been warned of future show removals, not by HBO’s official channels, and not on the HBO app itself, but from people who saw a countdown on their connected Hulu accounts, reminding them of the last day to watch on HBO Max.

That is the only reason that we know that Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends will be removed today, and Flapjack will follow on Friday.

Animation on HBO Max, a fan account on Twitter, said:

Prime Video displays countdowns for when shows are set to leave HBO Max (via their HBO Max add-on). From this, we now know:
– Last day to watch Dexter’s Lab is May 10 (today)
– Last day to watch Foster’s is May 11 (tomorrow)
– Last day to watch Flapjack is May 12 (Friday)

Those in the know about the current landscape surrounding streaming believe that it is likely that these shows are only being removed from the platform because their rights to them lapsed. Given that HBO will be abandoning the platform to migrate all content to the combined HBO and Discovery+ service, Max, it is likely that the company didn’t see it necessary to renew the rights on HBO just to bridge the gap before they cross over.

Twitter user @Toon4Thought said:

Unless all this is like some weird refresh thing, this really makes the supposed attempt to bring back a kids/family focus with the rebrand seem that much more phony.

@fagulhu replied:

Didn’t u see he explained that they could be holding off the rights renewal until the new service hits? HBO Max is a dead man walking right now

Related: Disney+ and Hulu Will Be Combined On One App by the End of the Year

Even still, the fact that it is fans pointing this out to one another, rather than HBO explaining it to their subscribers in a simple email or pop-up alert on their account, points to a company that is careless and disorganized at the very least – and at the very worst, openly hostile to the people who give them money every month so they can watch their favorite shows.

Especially given how expensive they plan to make the subscription tiers of the new platform, HBO should consider being more careful about the optics of how they treat their content – especially children’s programming.

How do you think HBO is handling the move over to Max? Let us know in the comments.

in Entertainment, Movies & TV, Television

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