CNN+ is dead. The plus service will stream its last stream on April 30.

Why is it being shut down? CNN+ isn't the Quibi of 2022. That was a service that launched with the full support of its backers, but was rejected by a disinterested public. Instead, CNN+ was birthed into the world just as a new boss who had zero interest in seeing it exist was set to take over.

The decision puts an abrupt end to an ambitious and aggressive venture that people familiar with the matter say rankled David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, from the start. Zaslav was annoyed by the decision of Jason Kilar, the former CEO of WarnerMedia when it was owned by AT&T, to launch CNN+ just weeks before Discovery was set to take over operations. But he was unable to communicate with WarnerMedia management, owing to legal boundaries surrounding the merger process.

David Zaslav and his team have been very open that they want a single-destination streaming service. They do not want customers having to sign up to multiple apps.

The 150,000 people or so who signed up for the lifetime discount plan certainly saw that promise offered, so that's nice.

What isn't known is what will happen to some of the big-name talent signed for CNN+, nor what will happen with the documentary programming on the platform. The shows will obviously end up on HBO Max, but will that happen as soon as CNN+ is shut down? Sooner? There are a lot of folks interested in that documentary series about the Murdoch family...

CNN+ Is Shutting Down One Month After Launch (EXCLUSIVE)
Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down CNN+ as of April 30, marking one of the company’s first significant maneuvers since completing the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery less than two we…

Staff will continue to be paid

CNN+ staff will continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days.

CNN+ Staffers ‘Will Continue to Be Paid and Receive Benefits For the Next 90 Days’
Will Chris Wallace and Kasie Hunt stick around? Hunt tweeted out: “Some of you are asking about me. I am proud to be on team CNN. I will be fine. It’s not about me right now.”

Warner Bros Discovery sets international leadership team

As Warner Bros Discovery establishes a framework for its global operations, it has announced the structure of its leadership team and who will oversee individual territories.

In a staff memo, seen by Variety, Zeiler explained that the company is putting in place dedicated regional leads “to reflect the scale and complexity of the business which would, in turn, increase focus on key markets.”

“This results in a different geographical split to the pre-merger state which will also allow each of the regional leaders to more rapidly assess opportunities for growth and efficiency and to integrate the two companies quickly,” said Zeiler.

Because Always Be Watching has a whole bunch of Australian industry professionals reading the newsletter, to save you scrolling the article in a fury:

James Gibbons — whose prior oversight included Discovery U.K. and Ireland as well as the Nordics — will now be president and managing director of Australia and New Zealand and Japan, reporting into Zeiler. He will continue to manage the Nordics region for an interim period of time, reporting into [Priya] Dogra, while also transitioning leadership of Discovery U.K. and Ireland to Dogra.
Warner Bros. Discovery Sets Out International Leadership Team, Puts Focus on Regional Heads
Warner Bros. Discovery has set out its long-awaited international leadership team under Gerhard Zeiler. Zeiler, as announced earlier this month, is the newly installed president of international fo…

HBO max subs are UP

The incoming team at Warner Bros Discovery are taking over as everything is on the up. Netflix numbers may have disappointed, but HBO/HBO Max subscriptions are on the rise in the US and internationally. They are now at 76.8 million global subscribers, an increase of 3 million after hitting 73.8 million subscribers as of the end of 2021.

HBO Max and HBO Hit 76.8M Global Subs, and 48.6M in U.S., in Final AT&T Disclosure
WarnerMedia’s profit was hit by streaming investments as telecom giant AT&T, led by John Stankey, posted its first results since the close of the megadeal that created Warner Bros. Discovery.

No Colbert for a bit

Stephen Colbert has opted against hosting his late night show for some reason...

RIP Robert Morse

The star of Broadway, but more importantly to readers of this newsletter, Mad Men, died at the age of 90.

Prior to joining Mad Men, Morse was best known as the lead of the Broadway musical and beloved film How To Succeed in Business Without Trying (he's very good in it).

He received 5 Emmy nominations for his role as Bert Cooper on Mad Men. He was wonderful and will be missed,

Robert Morse, Two-Time Tony Winner and ‘Mad Men’ Star, Dies at 90
Before he played Bert Cooper on the AMC drama, he had a career-defining role in the musical ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.’

Related: Why do Mad Men memes continue to resonate?

Why These ‘Mad Men’ Memes Haven’t Stopped Hitting
The show was about the 1960s, but the miseries of American life are timeless

Netflix nibbles

The huge financial blow to Netflix yesterday opened the door to a number of interesting news stories about the streamer being reported today:

Netflix will prioritise your preferred categories

A new UI update to Netflix will prioritise the categories you watch the most from.

Although Netflix’s UI often seems to change every time you load it, the Categories menu generally appeared below the Popular, Trending, and Continue Watching rows. As well as listing basic genres like comedy, action, horror, and so on, it also highlights collections based on the odd holiday (like Earth Day). Now, instead of just listing these categories in the same order for everyone, the top three choices will be customized to individual users.
Netflix will start highlighting more of your favorite genres and categories
Netflix continues to prove it knows what you watch

The cost of the Things

Apparently each episode of the upcoming season of Stranger Things was approx $30 million. What is that in The Upside Down dollars?

Stranger Things season 4 reportedly cost a whopping $30M per episode

New Schwarzenegger show sets its cast

Netflix's quietly-gestating Arnold Schwarzenegger action series has just announced its supporting cast which includes two of my favourites: Jay Baruchel and Andy Buckley.

Netflix’s Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Adds Travis Van Winkle, Gabriel Luna, Fortune Feimster, Jay Baruchel, Milan Carter & More To Cast
Netflix and Skydance Television have set the cast of the untitled Arnold Schwarzenegger spy adventure series, signing nine actors as series regulars to join Schwarzenegger in his first TV series ro…

Upcoming animated slate at Netflix killed off

Apparently a number of internally-produced very high-profile animated series at Netflix are being killed off, with staff let go. Among them is the highly-anticipated animated series based off Jeff Smith's massive kids comic series Bone.

Netflix has canceled cartoon adaptation of Jeff Smith’s Bone
Creators of City Of Ghosts, Centaur World, and more have opened up about grim changes at Netflix Animation

Why was Netflix's subscriber numbers so low?

3 million customers reportedly churned away from Netflix when the company announced a refent hike in prices. As per research firm Antenna:

As a whole, Netflix' performance this quarter suggests increased price sensitivity amongst its subscriber base, likely heightened by the abundance of consumer choice and proliferation of other services.
Netflix 1Q22 Retrospective

TeeVee Snacks

  • Aziz Ansari's feature film directorial debut Being Mortal has shut down production as they investigate a complaint against Bill Murray. Read: Deadline
  • Cruel Summer will return for a second season with an all-new cast and new creative talent. Back in my day this was referred to as "a new TV show". Read: THR
  • Indiewire suggests TV is currently obsessed with the 70s. It cites as evidence a handful of shows that aren't the current period shows set in the 50s, 60s, 80s, or 90s. Read: Indiewire
  • Should there be more TV romantic comedies? Jodi Walker at The Ringer says yes. Read: The Ringer
  • Al Jazeera will overhaul its studio for its 25th anniversary. Read: Newcast Studio
  • Pam Grier will be the focus of the upcoming 4th season of TCM's The Plot Thickens podcast. Read: THR

Trailer Park

Clark debuts May 5 on Netflix. In it Bill Skarsgård plays Clark Olofsson, the Swedish criminal who gave rise to the expression Stockholm syndrome.

The Staircase debuts May 5 on HBO Max. Colin Firth stars in this dramatization of the Michael Peterson case.

The Time Traveller's Wife debuts May 15 on HBO.

Whoa. That was some newsletter.