Just days after Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson met with Warner Bros., Discovery boss David Zaslav did, essentially, make sure he didn’t plan to eliminate Turner Classic Movies (TCM). were making, WBD has decided to shut down the cable. British version of the channel.
TCM Movies UK will cease to exist on July 6, 2023, TheWrap has confirmed. A person with knowledge of the matter told TheWrap that the closure is unrelated to events related to the US version of TCM, and instead to a UK market-related linear strategy review launched following the merger that will create Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022. yielded.
Some of TCM Movies UK’s film library will move to UK free-to-air channel Quest.
On Tuesday, TCM chief Pola Changnon exited the company amid layoffs by several other members of the network’s top executives, affecting about 100 employees at Warner Bros. Discovery’s US network group this week.
The channel will now be run by Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdi, owned by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The layoffs at TCM shocked fans inside and outside the industry, leading to a massive backlash on social media, with fears that WBD eventually plans to eliminate the channel altogether. In response, Zaslav called a meeting with directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson to discuss the future of the network.
“Turner Classic Movies has always been much more than a channel. It is indeed a priceless resource of cinema, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And although it has never been a financial juggernaut, it has always been a profitable endeavor since its inception,” the three directors said in a joint statement. “We understand the pressures and realities of a large corporation like WBD, of which TCM is a dynamic part. We’ve spent time talking to David, separately and together, and it’s clear that TCM and classic cinema are very important to him.
Spielberg, Scorsese, and Anderson stated that their main goal was to ensure that TCM remained “untouched and preserved”, and that they were “overjoyed and encouraged” by their conversation with Zaslav.
However, former and current TCM employees have told TheWrap that morale at the network is low, with one insider saying, “Nobody left is thrilled.”
A now former employee attributed the cuts not to WBD’s financial condition, but to the business model preferred by Discovery, who inexplicably became the senior partner in the merger that created Warner Bros. Discovery.
“I think the layoffs were their excuse for wanting to reorganize things because they don’t believe in the approach that we take to programming,” he told TheWrap. “They are used to making a cheap show, running it 1,000 times and earning through advertisements. They have a formula for making shows that doesn’t apply to TCM and they’ve never really thought through what the implications of those differences are.
Insiders noted that these cuts come despite significant cost-cutting and budget cuts in TCM, including the channel’s film festivals. Read about the situation here and here.
Kayla Cobb contributed to this story.