Paramount+ is the newest streaming service to harness the benefits of tax write-offs as it readies to blend Showtime content into its lineup.
Joining the likes of other streaming platforms that have reaped tax advantages by deleting content, Paramount+ has revealed its decision to scrap a number of shows from its catalogue. Supported by Paramount Global, the platform has decided not to continue Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies beyond its inaugural season, backtracked on its decision to renew the animated children’s series Star Trek: Prodigy for a second season, and dropped both Queen of the Universe and The Game revivals after two seasons. In line with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount+ will remove these underperforming series from its platform, taking tax write-offs. This move coincides with the integration of Showtime into the Paramount+ platform in the U.S. come Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Paramount+ told The Hollywood Reporter, “As we gear up for the fusion of Paramount+ and Showtime in the U.S. later this month, we are refining our content to ensure we provide the best possible streaming experience. This move aligns with our content strategy since inception and reflects our commitment to making judicious, data-driven decisions. We are eliminating certain shows as we strive to enhance Showtime’s robust roster of premium originals.”
While additional content is anticipated to be removed in the ensuing weeks, none are more notable than the four series announced on Friday. The series will begin to disappear from Paramount+ starting next week. The tax write-off’s exact value will be disclosed in an imminent earnings call.
The spokesperson continued, “We are grateful for the exceptional talent and dedication that our cast, crew, and production partners have put into these series, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Star Trek: Prodigy, Queen of the Universe, and The Game, which have concluded their runs on Paramount+ and won’t be returning. We wish everyone involved the best in their future endeavors.”
Star Trek: Prodigy was extended for a second season in November 2021, marking an effort by franchise leader Alex Kurtzman to reach younger audiences. The series will complete the postproduction of its second season, with CBS Studios seeking a new buyer for both seasons. Paramount+ will continue to serve as the base for the expansive franchise, which includes new orders for Star Trek: Section 31 movie and the youth-oriented Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, among others.
Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies concluded its run on June 1. After Warner Bros. Discovery-backed streamer passed it up, the series, initially developed for HBO Max, was reworked. Its producers, Paramount Television Studios, will be looking for a new home for the series, which received unenthusiastic reviews.
The Game, a revival of the original CW/BET comedy, spotlighted Black culture through the lens of football. It was one of the few titles recognized by ViacomCBS as a representation of its larger brand. Despite being part of the expansive Paramount Global portfolio, the existence of BET’s separate streaming service may have made it difficult for viewers to locate the show on Paramount+. The entire nine-season archive of the original series will stay on Paramount+. The production company, CBS Studios, will be shopping for a new home for The Game.
Lastly, Queen of the Universe, a reality drag singing competition with judges from music, drag, and reality TV, will see its last four episodes of season two released on June 22 before being removed from the platform on June 30.
Like Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney, Paramount+ has chosen to eliminate less successful titles from its service for financial benefits. Streaming services persist in paying licensing fees to retain programs. For instance, Warner Bros. Discovery offloaded lower-rated shows like Westworld and The Nevers, licensing them to free, ad-supported streaming platforms to recover some costs associated with these expensive originals. Disney also recently removed numerous titles from Disney+ and Hulu, and it’s unclear if they plan to sell these underperforming titles to free, ad-supported platforms or elsewhere. According to a recent earnings report, Disney recorded a $1.5 billion tax write-down associated with the content removal.
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