Last week, the world was up in arms as Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav began to gut TCM along with other Warner Bro. holdings. It started with them canning Turner Classic Movies programming executive Charles Tabesh and announcing changes coming for the channel without a real plan.
Then, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson stepped in before it went further.
They called David Zaslav and requested to meet, which has to be a terrifying phone call to get.
We don't know what was said on the call, but we know Charles Tabesh is not going to keep his job, and that Spielberg, Scorsese, and PTA will help program for the channel as well.
The three released a joint statement, saying:
“We have already begun working on ideas with Mike and Pam, both true film enthusiasts who share a passion and reverence for classic cinema that is the hallmark of the TCM community...This unique arrangement, initiated by David Zaslav, reflects his commitment to honoring the TCM legacy while also involving us on curation and programming. We are thrilled that longtime programmer Charlie Tabesh will be staying with TCM and gratified to know that the team is focused on preserving TCM’s mission of celebrating our rich movie history while at the same time ensuring that future generations of filmmakers and film lovers have TCM as a valuable resource.”
The Mike and Pam mentioned are Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the Co-Chairpersons and CEOs of Warner Bros Film Group who now control TCM.
They have their own statement, saying:
“TCM is a cultural treasure, and we are honored to help steer the future direction of this beloved brand with the partnership of three of the most iconic filmmakers of our time, Steven, Marty, and Paul...David Zaslav led the charge, driven by our shared love of storytelling, to bring us together for a project about which we are so passionate. Over the last year, we have meaningfully increased our content investment in TCM, and intend to further enhance TCM’s on-air programming and engagement with fans.”
So this looks like a happy ending, for now.
I think this is another reason public outcry really matters when it comes to preserving Hollywood and the culture we've built over generations. We have to keep these corporations honest and we have to safeguard our history.
Let me know what you think in the comments.