Warner Bros. Shuts Down TV Writers Workshops Where New and Diverse Talent Thrived

The newly merged company’s digital shortform division, Stage 13, will also be shuttering

Warner Bros. Discovery logo WBD Michelle Imperato Stabile
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery is shutting down its Television Workshop for up-and-coming writers and directors, as well as its digital shortform programming division, Stage 13, TheWrap has confirmed. The news comes amid further layoffs that are expected to hit the newly merged conglomerate.

Stage 13 was established in 2017, while the writers workshop has been around for four decades, with the 2022-23 season being the last. Both of these ventures are planned to be folded into development and current programming. While neither program was founded with the initiative of specifically supporting talent from underrepresented backgrounds, both eventually became a pipeline through which rising and diverse talent could break into the industry.

As part of the Warner Bros. Television Group and formed under the previous Warner Bros. Digital Networks, Stage 13 was an award-winning studio and production company “dedicated to amplifying intersectional stories and championing creators from underrepresented communities,” according to its site. Since its launch, it has produced 200+ episodes of critically acclaimed series like Netflix’s “Special” and “It’s Bruno!” and HBO Max’s “Family Style,” amassing six Emmy Award nominations and nearly 230 million viewers.

WBTV has already been supervising Stage 13 development and programming since 2020. Any existing Stage 13 projects in development will be absorbed within WBTV.

Both the writers and directors workshop (the latter established in 2014) would select a cohort of rising talent to be immersed in a comprehensive training program that would introduce their work to the studio’s top writers, producers and executives, with the goal of securing a staff writing position on a WBTV–produced series and understanding how to helm a series, respectively. Alumni include Regina King, LaToya Morgan (“Shameless,” “The Walking Dead”), Michael Narducci (“Superman & Lois,” “The Vampire Diaries” and Sonya Winton-Odamtten & Jonathan I. Kidd (“Lovecraft Country”), among many others.

Back in September, it was revealed that Warner Bros. Discovery was to begin laying off hundreds of workers on the business side. Up to 30% of the combined sales teams of the merged company were expected to be cut. These, as well as additional firings, are the latest in Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s dual moves to reduce costs by up to $3 billion as well as to shift the strategy for the company’s streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery+.