Ahead of the planned launch of its own proprietary streaming service, CNN is shuffling some of its original programming off of HBO Max so that it can have more content in the can to populate CNN+ with when it launches in 2022.
According to Bloomberg, the shows scheduled to get yanked so far will “likely” include the cable network’s two popular food shows, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, along with other CNN original series and documentaries. The decision to pull the programming would effectively end the relationship between CNN and HBO Max — which are both owned by the same parent company, WarnerMedia — and would mean that CNN will no longer produce shows for any streaming platform other than its own moving forward.
CNN has been courting big names in the media industry ahead of the planned launch of CNN+, most recently announcing that it had signed longtime Fox News host Chris Wallace to host a new weekday show. The network also separately announced that it would be partnering with TV star Eva Longoria on a new travel show spun off of Tucci’s called Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico.
It’s been previously reported that CNN plans to debut the new streaming service in March, with a starting price of $US6 ($8) a month — a dubious strategy in a crowded market that already has people groaning about shelling out for premium content. CNN’s fellow network, NBC, has a free streaming service with Peacock, and free live TV offerings like Pluto TV and the Roku Channel also abound. In other words, it’s not immediately clear who exactly is clamoring for a subscription-based, CNN-branded streaming platform, but that doesn’t look like it’s stopping the network from heading into the new year guns blazing, ready to bet big on the popularity of a new Chris Wallace vehicle.
We likely won’t know how CNN’s gamble will pay off for at least a few years; in the meantime, though, watching Stanley Tucci eat his way through Italy’s best pasta dishes isn’t the worst way to pass the time.