Are Animated Shows No Longer Desired by Streaming Services?


photo courtesy of AP Images

200 epsidoes from a “Sesame Street” spin-off, “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo,” have been removed from HBO Max. This show, along with 35 others, have been removed as well.

Natalie Becker, Opinion editor

Online streaming services have been a part of our lives for the past two years. You can watch any show you can think of and not have to deal with cable TV ads.

HBO Max is one of the most popular streaming services, having about 76.8 million active users globally, according to The Verge. HBO Max has multiple original series, Cartoon Network shows, DC superhero films, anime and “Sesame Street.” Some of these were removed last Friday to prepare for the HBO Max-Discovery+ merger, which is expected to happen in mid 2023, according to CNBC.

Most of the content removed was kids and family shows and reality TV shows. HBO Max removed 200 episodes of a “Sesame Street” spin-off called “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo,” along with some “Sesame Street” specials. They also removed Cartoon Network titles, such as “OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes,” “Infinity Train” and “Summer Camp Island.” The creator of “Summer Camp Island,” Julia Pott, was not aware HBO Max was going to be removing the show.

These shows were infrequently watched and “cluttered the site.” HBO Max wanted to make sure they weren’t filling the site with unwatched content.

I don’t think these shows were infrequently watched. “Infinity Train” is a critically-acclaimed show, and kids content is very profitable. HBO Max, however, wants their target demographic to be adults, specifically male adults, according to CNBC. This means they want to create more content for adults instead of creating more for children, because they will see more profit from the adult shows.

The amount of anger I saw on Twitter from the removal of these shows was profound. The creator of “Infinity Train,” Owen Dennis, even told fans to resort to piracy to watch the shows. 

Why didn’t they tell the creators and the teams working on these shows that they would be pulled? Not to mention they laid off the staff working on some of these shows. I think it’s crazy that HBO Max has removed some of their originals to merge with a company. Companies like Netflix and Hulu are known to remove two or three shows at once, but not 36.

I also think that it’s kind of ridiculous that so many animated shows were removed in this process. Out of the 36, 14 of the titles were cartoon shows for kids and teens. Just because these shows might be “infrequently watched,” does not mean they are not watched. Some people like to search for new shows to watch. For me, cartoons are always interesting to watch because the creators understand what audience they need to reach and relate to them. The shows are cute, awesome and sentimental. Kids need shows like this to grow up with. 

I know so many children who watch the YouTube series-turned-Netflix show, “CoComelon.” I have watched a couple of episodes and there’s nothing to learn from it. They use the same formula over and over and never teach proper manners. Shows like “Sesame Street” were designed to teach kids about life with colorful characters. “CoComelon” is not quality kids TV.

I wish kids growing up now had the same experience as us when we watched TV. Many of the shows we watched actually taught us things and made us happy. The kids I babysat watched “CoComelon” and they didn’t express any emotion while watching. They just asked if I could put on the next episode.

Many people on Twitter are wondering if other streaming services will do the same as HBO Max and purge some of their lesser-watched cartoon shows. I don’t think Netflix will, considering they don’t have many animated shows to begin with. They also pride themselves on having many titles to scroll through and finding something random to watch. Disney+ will never head in that direction, either. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why. 

Regardless, shows that many people held dear to their hearts are now gone. This may not be the last purge we see from HBO Max and they could pull anybody’s favorite show next. Just be prepared for it.