Turner Classic Movies Seemingly Safe From the WBD Chopping Block

TCM East of Eden

The hosts of Turner Classic Movies suggest the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned movie channel is safe from the company’s various cuts: “All is well.”

The hosts of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) seem convinced that despite the various content cuts that have recently taken place at Warner Bros. Discovery, the old-school movie channel is safe from harm for the time being.

TCM hosts Ben Mankiewicz, Jacqueline Stewart, Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone and Dave Karger recently sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly following a meeting with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, during which they alleviated fans’ fears regarding the channel potentially being on the proverbial chopping block. “All is well right now,” Malone said. “Nothing’s changed. We all feel very protective over the channel and we know how precious it is, and increasingly rare. So, not on our watch.”

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Over the past several months, various projects have gotten the ax at Warner Bros. Discovery amid the company’s cost-cutting measures. Infamously, the live-action DC film Batgirl was scrapped despite being nearly finished, with the planned sequel to the animated feature Scoob! meeting a similar fate. Moreover, a number of existing television projects were not only canceled but, in many cases, removed from the HBO Max streaming service altogether. This culling has not only affected modern projects, but also classic Warner Bros. content. For instance, over 250 Looney Tunes shorts dating back to the 1950s were recently de-listed from the platform.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s Content Purge Is Ostensibly Over

Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels claimed earlier this month that the company’s content purge had officially come to an end. “We took a little bit of time to make sure that we do it properly,” Wiedenfels said earlier this month. “For some of the titles, we’ve found new homes elsewhere.” Even so, the fact that the purge happened at all has led to criticism directed towards Zaslav, who took over amid Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia. Many of Zaslav’s critics seem convinced that the new Warner Bros. boss either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about the legacy he has inherited.

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However, TCM’s hosts tell a different story. “He’s so enthusiastic in his support for TCM, and it’s genuine. TCM was on in his office. That’s not just some myth,” Stewart told EW. “He knew stuff about all of us, and he told his assistant to make sure to tell us TCM is always on. He didn’t just turn it on for this,” Mankiewicz added. Elsewhere in the interview, Mankiewicz claimed that Zaslav “understands movie history,” pointing out that the CEO “wanted to work at Jack Warner’s desk. That mattered to him. I’m not sure that it’s mattered to some of the other people.”

The hosts don’t think Zaslav is stringing them along, either. “For the most of the time we were up [in his office], Zaslav talked about the value of curation,” Mankiewicz said. “He gets what we do. He’s not a guy who thinks, ‘Let’s just show the movies.’ He gets what TCM does and why it’s important.” Mankiewicz ultimately concluded the interview my stating that even though “[t]his industry is changing,” the hosts are “planning for a changing future that includes TCM. That’s how people ought to look at it.”

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TCM initially launched on April 14, 1994. The channel’s programming lineup consists primarily of curated feature films from the Turner Entertainment film library, which includes Warner Bros. films released before 1950, MGM films released before May 1986 and films from the long-defunct RKO Pictures. That said, TCM occasionally licenses films from other studios, as well as shows more modern flicks. TCM also broadcasts original content, mainly documentaries about film history.

Source: Entertainment Weekly


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