David Zaslav and Steven Spielberg on the red carpet for a TCM event.

If David Zaslav Tries To Gut Turner Classic Movies, We Riot

I feel like I owe DC fans an apology. When David Zaslav became the CEO of Warner Brothers in 2021, I didn’t particularly care because he was only messing around with properties I wasn’t that interested in— like canceling Batgirl or removing multiple animated DC shows from HBO Max.

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Well, friends, I was wrong, and I should have been more concerned because now he is coming for my beloved Turner Classic Movies, and I’m not happy. Per Indiewire:

The network laid off much of its leadership yesterday, including executive VP and general manager Pola Changnon; senior VP of programming and content strategy, Charles Tabesh; VP of brand creative and marketing Dexter Fedor; VP of enterprises and strategic partnerships Genevieve McGillicuddy, who also served as the director of the annual TCM Film Festival; and VP of studio production Anne Wilson.

These people were responsible for everything from curating lineups, to shooting intros and outros, and for creating original shows, documentaries, and video essays that serve as major contributions to American cultural history.

So basically, everyone who kept the lights on over at TCM was let go for reasons known only to Zaslav. TCM is a special channel. It’s the only place I know of where you can watch movies from the golden age of Hollywood, uncut, and without commercials.

Obviously, I am concerned about whatever direction the new leadership will take TCM, but no one really cares about my opinion because I am not an award-winning filmmaker. Good news though, there are award-winning filmmakers who do care and are all over it. Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, and Paul Thomas Anderson released a statement via Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Entertainment, after speaking to Zaslav about their concerns. Per Indiewire:

“Turner Classic Movies has always been more than just a channel,” the statement reads. “It is truly a precious resource of cinema, open 24 hours a day seven days a week. And while it has never been a financial juggernaut, it has always been a profitable endeavor since its inception.

[…]

“We have each spent time talking to David, separately and together, and it’s clear that TCM and classic cinema are very important to him.  Our primary aim is to ensure that TCM’s programming is untouched and protected.

“We are heartened and encouraged by the conversations we’ve had thus far, and we are committed to working together to ensure the continuation of this cultural touchstone that we all treasure.”

I do not have a single speck of trust or goodwill for Zaslav but if his answer was good enough for them, I supposed it will have to be good enough for the rest of us, too. However, if TCM starts to dip in quality, or begins showing Dude, Where’s My Car cut with commercials, we riot.

(featured image: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TCM)


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Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.