In what was essentially a public debut Wednesday, the new Warner Bros. effectively portrayed the media giant as the fifth American broadcast television network, with even greater aspirations.
“Our goal is to be the most dynamic media and entertainment company in the world,” David Zaslav, the company’s CEO and president, told an audience of advertisers in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The 6-week-old company created from a corporate merger was giving its first “upfront” presentation, where television and other media companies try to persuade representatives from Madison Avenue to buy advertising the following year.
“I’m a little nervous,” said Zaslav, name-checking celebrities like Mike Rowe and Chip and Joanna Gaines that he saw in the audience. “It’s a big moment for us.”
Yet in a stage known for bravery, Zaslav was not shy.
He compared the moment to the time when Rupert Murdoch created the Fox network to compete with ABC, CBS and NBC in the late 1980s. But he added, “we have to tie all four broadcast networks together to get the access that we have alone.”
Along with Nation World News and Discovery, the new company has a strong worldwide presence. For television viewers and streamers in the United States, it is a diverse and disparate collection of properties, including HGTV, Food Network, TBS, TLC, Nation World News, HBO and HBO Max and the Discovery+ streaming services.
This made for some strange juxtaposition in the presentation, as slides linking together upcoming events like Discovery’s “Shark Week,” Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” and Nation World News’s coverage of the midterm election.
Jennifer Hudson, who is launching a syndicated talk show This fall for the company’s telepictures division, with two HGTV stars, rapper Lil Jon, and designer twins Jonathan Drew, was a rather peculiar spectacle.
The company tried to tie it all together saying that it will offer “live events that thrill us, headlines that define us, real-life stories that connect us”.
“Now there is a place where all this is waiting for us.”
Along the way, the company made some programming news. Discovery+ is working on a two-part documentary looking at the roots of toxic divorce one between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, and another who gives a look at snowboarder Shaun White’s last competition at the Winter Olympics. The service has also attracted actor Robert Downey Jr. to a series where he has some classic cars made more environmentally friendly.
HGTV will debut “The Great Giveback” next month, in which actor Melissa McCarthy and her cousin Jenna Perusch help renovate the homes of some needy families.
And HBO brought Lizzo on stage to announce the singer’s participation in a documentary about the last two years of her life. She added a colorful description of what she put into the project, which left a corporate executive some time off.
Presentation to advertisers may have been new to Warner Bros. Discovery as a company, but not to most of its constituents – based on a solicitation flashed on a video screen to highlight the highlights of Adult Swim Cartoon Network. it was done.
“The future is coming,” it read. “Join us. It just costs money.”