Warner Bros. Discovery Faces Mountain of Debt on ‘Road to Profitability’

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As the media giant prepares to report fourth-quarter earnings, CEO David Zaslav has to prove he can cut costs and squeeze more money out of every show

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. (Getty Images)

David Zaslav used to charm Wall Street. Now he’s running a debt-laden media company that one observer described as a “dumpster fire.” Just how hot things are getting for the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO will become clear after it reports fourth-quarter earnings Thursday — Zaslav’s third outing as the combined company’s chief.

The competitive pressure to scale up and compete with Netflix’s ballooning content budget drove AT&T to spin off WarnerMedia and combine it with Discovery, creating a film and TV giant with a bulked-up streaming library. But even as the deal got done last year investors were already changing their tune.