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Ever Wanted HBO, but With Less Sex & More Ads? Warner Bros. Discovery Is the Network for You!

Warner Bros. Discovery wants to do bad things to True Blood.

HBO logo swirling in what looks like liquid gold.

If you ever saw an episode of True Blood and thought to yourself, “I like this, but it could use less swearing, blood, and sex and more commercials,” well, I’ve got good news for you, because HBO has cut a deal with TBS and TNT to move some of its old programming to reruns on those channels. In the corporate world, we call this synergy. In the real world, we call this bullshit. Per Variety:

The reruns will launch immediately out of NBA All Star coverage on the the cablers, with “True Blood” beginning Saturday after the game on TNT and “Silicon Valley” on TBS. Following that initial premiere, “True Blood” will move to its regular time period on Mondays at 10 p.m. on TNT. “Silicon Valley” will air Sundays at 10 p.m. on TBS.

TNT and TBS are both owned by Warner Bros., so it’s all being kept in the family. Man, do I hate this—not because this is a particularly new concept. I remember back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, when Sex and the City reruns ran on basic cable, edited for content and commercials, too. It’s just that this is such a lazy solution and the path of least resistance.

I am all for as many people as possible revisiting and/or discovering, for the first time, the absolutely horny joy that is True Blood; I’m just not sure how that’s possible once you edit it for basic cable. I just rewatched it. Spoilers, but the entire second season is about a maenad who comes to town to get people to have sex in order to get a god to come to town. Will that season be distilled down to two episodes instead of 12?

Additionally, this feels gross. The executives aren’t making this decision because someone in power has a weird thing for True Blood and is pushing it through because they feel strongly that it needs to be back on tv. It’s because Warner Bros. Discovery is a massive F-ing monopoly and they’re basically digging around their couch cushions looking for spare change trying to come up with cheap programming to fill time slots, because now they have a massive back catalog and don’t want to (or have to) come up with original programming anymore. Per Variety.

Warner Bros. Discovery, formed nearly a year ago by the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, will be monitoring Nielsen returns to see how viewers react to the HBO content on the cable channels before deciding on longterm scheduling strategies.

As I said above, this isn’t a new concept. It just feels regressive because there was more competition in media 20-ish years ago, so putting edited episodes of HBO shows on basic cable felt more like it was doing a solid for teenagers who weren’t allowed to watch these shows, and less like a soulless, calculated business decision.

I say that with the full transparency of someone who, 20-ish years ago, had to sneak episodes of Sex and the City on basic cable because my parents thought it was too grown-up for me to watch. It’s probably a lot easier for teenagers to sneak content their parents don’t want them to watch now than it is to stay up late to watch edited versions of it on basic cable and let their imaginations fill in the gaps on what’s been cut out, but what do I know? The good news is, at least on the True Blood front, that there are always the books. Those aren’t edited, and they’re campy fun trash.

(featured image: HBO)

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