The actor Diana-Maria Riva is too well known to have been removed from one of her shows. As a practitioner, it’s a bittersweet, unfortunate part of show business. But this was different.
In December, Riva was floored when he found her “Chubby Chronicles” It would remove that recently canceled family comedy from HBO Max’s immense library — one of the few shows HBO has effectively wiped from existence for US viewers in the past year. Among others: “Westworld,” “Minx,” “Mis. Fletcher” and many animated and reality series.
for Riva, the developments were overwhelming. Over 10 episodes, the critically acclaimed series followed an average 12-year-old named Cuco and her Dominican family as they adapted to life in 1980s Miami.
“It’s like if someone breaks up with you and then comes back to remind you two weeks later that they broke up with us,” said Riva, who played Cuckoo’s mother. “It was already heartbreaking. But then there was an added irony to say, ‘Now we’re going to erase the evidence that you’ve always been here.’
As streamers face pressure to save money, many have followed HBO’s lead. Erasing original shows from their libraries can help streamers collect revenue and, at the very least, save on residual payments. But it brings criticism that voices are already being marginalized and creatives are being reduced from the already slimmer residual paychecks. These issues have fueled tension between executives and writers amid union contract negotiations that began last month and could lead to a significant work stoppage this spring.
The river companies offer this defense: They never promised to live forever. In a hyper-competitive market, they say, each streamer is trying to balance its extensive offerings to survive.
Streamers tighten their belts
Amid trends in the tech and media industries, streamers are being pushed to cut costs and turn a profit rather than “pursuing results at all costs,” says media analyst Dan Rayburn.
“These companies have had to change the way they spend on content because Wall Street says you have a much faster rate of return,” Rayburn said. admittedly than Disney’s stock In November, after acknowledging the company revealed that its direct unit, which includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, lost nearly $1.5 billion in one quarter.
HBO clears 2022 — which was made as a parent company; Warner Bros., along with The Discovery. They write a very good example, to kill the possibilities of tax-off. But his rivals quickly followed suit. In January, Starz axed a number of shows including “Dangerous Liaisons,” a costume drama that disappeared from the streaming app days after it last aired. Some fans said they missed the last episode.
Then, a few weeks later, Showtime underwent its withdrawal. It picked up the Jeff Daniels-led drama “American Rust,” among others. Paramount+, while integrating Showtime into the service, has done the same with some of its offerings, including Jordan Peele’s revival of “The Twilight Zone.”
From those shows they found new homes. For those who have not, when they have “Gordita Paralipomenon,” the effects of their removal are widely diffused. Potential viewers never get a chance to get to know her. Actors and writers no longer know whether their work will be seen again. And the original streamer has no residuals to pay.
It is unclear how much money the streamers can make through these channels. But Rayburn says it’s clear the company’s cut shows aren’t bringing in enough new customers or significantly helping retention efforts. Instead, there are rival programming streamers, including free, ad-supported streaming channels like Tube TV, which recently started hosting some HBO shows, including “Westworld.”
Streamers, Rayburn says, have not been obligated to host shows for years. What’s more, customers tend to jump between apps to hunt for titles that are found among them.
Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max, said in a recent episode of ” “The Vigil” podcast those converging to take a closer look at their libraries and seeing that they are most useful.
“That everything that happens, in one place forever and ever, 15 months forever, is a relatively new concept,” said Bloys. “$15 a month for everything for the rest of the time? It’s a nice idea, but it’s not viable.
The variety scared the landscape creators who had been depleting their residuals for years.
Residuals were once the cornerstone of an actor’s or writer’s career, with large chunks constantly appearing in syndicated series and reruns. Now, creators say, their residual income has plummeted as streamers have grown. As part of the negotiated union contracts, the streams still give residuals, but the subsequent payments are hardly the size that the broadcasts and crews receive from the TV channels.
Through the Writers Guild of America West contract with the Federation of Motion Picture and Television Producers, one rerun of the prime-time show aired on ABC now earns its writer $24,558. But if that show were on Netflix, the writer would earn – at most – $20,018 in domestic residuals per episode. And if the show was on a smaller stream like HBO Max, the annual payment would be $13,346. max. With each additional year the show is in flux, the residuals are decreasing. What he exhibits, of course, is the remains of a part of the library.
The decline in residuals is an issue that industry insiders say could come to a head as the WGA contract expires in May, shortly after the directors’ and player’s union contracts, which are both due to expire on June 30. to seek better residual rates, writers to pay higher minimum rates and better financial security in an industry that is far more likely to organize a season of 10 episodes than a season interval of 22-which was the standard when radio dominated the medium. The writers’ latest hit, the 100-day work stoppage that ended in 2008; California cost the economy an estimated $2 billion.
“Just in case you’re wondering why the WGA can spend a shot, my first residual check I wrote for a radio show was for $12,000. I just got my first residual check for a streaming show…$4,” screenwriter Kyra Jones tweeted.
Even if the residuals have fallen, Riva says the crucial role we want to play is that the player makes enough money over the given year – currently $26,470 – to retain insurance eligibility through the SAG-AFTRA union.
“If you don’t need a lot recently, but at least you have enough residuals to get you over that minimum threshold – this way you can protect your family,” says Riva.
Marginal voices shelved
In a February news release, the Writer’s Guild of America West-HBO called out the show’s removal, saying it “illustrates how consolidation increases the power of the gatekeepers at the expense of marginalized voices.”
The partnership with HBO brought the decision to bring together “Gordita Paralipomenon” and “Tuca & Bertie”, an animated series, two of which are led by women of color. It also emphasizes the studio’s “Batgirl’s” unusual move — a movie starring Leslie Grace, an Afro-Latin actor — is almost done — that HBO is writing off as a tribute to pay. In January, Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said the company was “done” by following up on what the report says has been done.
“We can’t just disappear, especially shows that portray immigration and Latinx families in a positive light,” said the “Gordita Chronicles” show Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz. “Our communities are humanized through comedy. And not having the show there as part of our lexicon shows a regression to me.
In a statement, HBO Max said canceling “The Gordita Chronicles” was an “extremely difficult decision” as part of a transition away from family entertainment. The stream has also confirmed that the rights to the show have returned to Sony.
While other emotional shows find new homes through licensing, it remains in limbo, not least to be found. For a while, some episodes were still streaming on American Airlines flights, but they also recently streamed from in-flight viewing options.
Both Muñoz-Liebowitz and Juan Javier Cardenas, who played Cuco’s father on the show, are hoping Sony finds a new home for him. Cardenas says that, having given up on his other sports, he has taken solace in knowing that “work survives.” Not so with Gordita Chronicles, at least not now.
“To know in the end,” says Cardenas, “despite all the heart and soul we put into the show, it’s not going to be available for people to watch and enjoy in the future – that’s very sad.”