Two days ago, social media was set ablaze by the rumor that Dark Lord David Zaslav, previous king of reality garbage and newly crowned emperor of Warner Bros, was about to kill Cartoon Network by eliminating the studio that produces their content. The flames were only fanned further by Cartoon Brew, who has never seen a negative animation rumor it didn’t love, seeming to confirm the news. Folks, it ain’t so. The current state of animation at WBA may be bleak but it’s not THAT bleak.
According to more solid sources like Variety and Deadline, and confirmed by Polygon, the actual announced plan for Cartoon Network Studios is to merge it with Warner Bros Animation, as Dave feels keeping two separate studios around for the same thing makes no financial sense. This doesn’t mean the death of the CNS brand either — both brands will continue to operate, but will function as one entity in reality. Via Variety:
Sam Register will continue to oversee Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios and Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. Those three labels will continue to exist, but development and main production teams for Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios will now merge (while Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe will maintain a separate team). The three shingles had already shared the same current programming, casting, legal/business affairs and artist relations teams.
More to the point, from a later paragraph:
Despite the changes, output will remain the same as Cartoon Network Studios continues to produce original animated fare for internal outlets including Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and HBO Max.
(HBO Max not so much.)
Of course, CNS and WBA didn’t EXACTLY produce the same things, no matter what Zaslav thinks. WBA stuck to keeping the studio’s oldest properties alive like Looney Tunes and Scooby Doo, while CNS was mostly devoted to original content with brand-new characters. Whether this joined studio can perform both tasks at once, well, it wouldn’t be hard under fair circumstances, but the ghoul in charge is very risk-averse and will probably prefer reboots.
Despite declining ratings and a decidedly anti-creative bent to its leadership head at WB, Cartoon Network will still be sticking around, though it’s anyone’s guess how long.