John Oliver crawled out of the wreckage of Discovery’s bloody merger with Warner Bros. to blow a big fat raspberry at his new corporate overlords, protesting WBD’s decimation of HBO Max by saying, “It’s not TV. It’s a series of tax write-offs to appease Wall Street.”
Last Week Tonight is an HBO production, though many viewers watch it on HBO Max. Via Deadline, Oliver pre-heated the oven for this roast with a segment on Sarah Palin. He quoted a publisher talking to The New Yorker who said, “Sarah knows how to work a crowd … but it’s Sarah, Inc.’” Oliver quipped that “Sarah, Inc.” sounds like “a title of a sitcom starring Kat Dennings that’s already quietly disappeared from HBO Max.” He followed that with the above-mentioned re-write of HBO’s first slogan, “It’s not TV…”
The bulk of the episode was devoted to corporations lying about carbon offsets, which meant the whole episode became about mortgaging the future for near-sighted gains. Check out Oliver’s top story through YouTube.
Following the merger, CEO David Zaslav promised to cut $3 billion in expenses, and while some observers seemed to expect pruning shears, he showed up with a chainsaw. WBD sank CNN+ three weeks after it launched, shelved Batgirl even though it had already been finished at a $90 million price tag just to save $15-20 million in tax write-offs, removed over 200 classic episodes of Sesame Street to avoid paying out residuals, and erased dozens of other projects by countless creatives who’ve been left without so much as a DVD to prove that their work exists.