“I do get the vague sense that you’re burning down my network for the insurance money,” Oliver said after the cancellation of “Batgirl.”
From taking down Washington DC to slamming the next steps of DC Comics, John Oliver isn’t shying away from criticizing HBO parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.
During the August 7 episodes of “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” the host likened the rollout of the monkeypox vaccine to how WBD CEO David Zaslav shelved DC superhero film “Batgirl.”
“We let the vaccine sit unused on a shelf in our reserves, like an expired Chobani or a $90 million movie on HBO Max,” Oliver joked. “Hi there, new business daddy seems like you’re doing a really great job. I do get the vague sense that you’re burning down my network for the insurance money, but I’m sure that that will all pass.”
“Batgirl” was deep into post-production when it was scrapped from the HBO Max release schedule. Leslie Grace starred as the Gotham City hero, along with Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, and Brendan Fraser. Co-directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah helmed the feature. Sources have revealed since that the cancellation of both “Batgirl” and the animated “Scoob!: Holiday Haunt” releases were due to Warner Bros. Discovery seeking a tax write-off.
CEO Zaslav during the company’s second-quarter earnings call cited the need for a brand “reset” for DC amid a “strategic shift” for the streamer. “This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it,” Zaslav stated. “We can’t find an economic value for it.”
“Last Week Tonight” host Oliver is no stranger to speaking out against Warner Bros. parent companies. Oliver previously dissed AT&T, calling out the company’s ties to right-wing network One America News. However, AT&T never intervened in Oliver’s content, which he hopes will continue under Zaslav and Discovery.
“We had absolutely no contact with AT&T, and I could not encourage Discovery more to continue that,” Oliver told Variety. “Leave us the fuck alone. We do not need to meet each other. We do not need to speak.”
Oliver added, “There is no tastier hand than the one that feeds you. There is nothing more satisfying to chomp down on. The beauty with AT&T is it’s a hand that has done many terrible things. It deserves to be bitten.”