WarnerMedia — a media giant that includes brands like CNN, HBO, TNT, the CW and TBS — is officially out for South by Southwest Conference and Festivals.
The company announced through its CNN communications Twitter account on Thursday that it was canceling activations this year at SXSW. “As a precaution, WarnerMedia has decided it best not to move forward with activations at SXSW. We look forward to seeing everyone in Austin next year,” the tweet reads.
As concern over the spread of COVID-19 grows this week, many major players have dropped out of SXSW, including Netflix, Apple, Facebook and Twitter. Find a full list of who’s not coming anymore at austin360.com.
SXSW officials on Monday afternoon said that the conference and festivals are still planned to go on as scheduled, and no Texas health officials have requested cancellation. Organizers said they are monitoring the coronavirus situation and working with government agencies to ensure safety. SXSW has released a statement on its website.
Austin health officials on Wednesday said canceling the event won’t make the city safer from the virus. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that any decision about SXSW would be a local one.
The “Watchmen” panel, starring Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in conversation with showrunner Damon Lindelof (for whom Reznor and Ross composed the score for the hit HBO show) is no longer happening.
Nine Inch Nails’ official Twitter account tweeted:
“We’re sorry we won’t be giving our Watchmen keynote at SXSW this year (because we had some surprises in store!) However, it was the right decision. We will see you soon - be safe and smart.
The show, a sequel to the game-changing 1986 comic series of the same name, was a surprise smash hit for HBO, the first such hit in the post-“Game of Thrones” era.
Other WarnerMedia projects that were slated to come to SXSW include “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (a TBS show with a featured panel), “A Black Lady Sketch Show” (an HBO show with a panel featuring creator Robin Thede),“Snowpiercer” (a TNT adaptation of the Bong Joon Ho movie, which was set to premiere at the film festival) and “We’re Here” (a new HBO series starring personalities from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”).
WarnerMedia had planned sessions on its new HBO Max project, with WarnerMedia chairman of entertainment Robert Greenblatt, and innovation.
CNN travel editor Brekke Fletcher was slated for a panel on travel journalism; other CNN personalities set to appear at the conference included CNN Business’ Jackie Wattles, chief climate correspondent Bill Weir, executive Andrew Morse, anchor Kate Bolduan and anchor Poppy Harlow. The news network also was slated to host the “Citizen House @ SXSW” activation.
A panel dedicated to the CW show “Supernatural” was removed from the SXSW schedule on Wednesday.