Turner Broadcasting System

This article is about the company. For the channel owned by this company, see TBS (U.S. TV channel).
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Industry Entertainment
Cable television
Mass media
Interactive media
Predecessor Turner Communications Group
Founded 1970 (1970)
Founder Ted Turner
Headquarters CNN Center, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Key people
John K. Martin (CEO & Chairman)[1]
David Levy (President)[2]
Products CNN
CNN International
Turner Classic Movies
Cartoon Network
Adult Swim
CNN Airport
Parent Time Warner
Divisions Turner Sports
Subsidiaries Turner Broadcasting System Europe
Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific
Turner Broadcasting System Latin America
Turner Entertainment Co.
Cartoon Network Studios
Turner Private Networks
Hulu (10%)
Williams Street
Website www.turner.com

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (often abbreviated Turner Broadcasting, TBS, Inc. or simply Turner) is an American media conglomerate and division of Time Warner, managing the collection of cable networks and properties initiated or acquired by Robert Edward "Ted" Turner III starting during the 1970s. TBS, Inc. merged with Time Warner on October 10, 1996, and now operates as a semi-autonomous unit of Time Warner.

The company's current assets include CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang and TruTV.

The current chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting is John K. Martin.[3] The Turner properties are located in both the CNN Center in Downtown Atlanta[4] and the Turner Broadcasting campus off Techwood Drive in Midtown Atlanta, which also houses Turner Studios.[5] Across Interstate 75/85 from the Techwood campus is the original home of Turner's WTBS superstation (now separated into the TBS cable network and Peachtree TV), which today houses Adult Swim and Williams Street Productions.



In 1970, Ted Turner, then owner of a successful Atlanta-based outdoor advertising company, purchased WJRJ-Atlanta, Channel 17, a small, struggling Ultra High Frequency station, and renamed it WTCG, for parent company Turner Communications Group. By careful programming acquisitions, Turner guided the station to success. During December 1976, WTCG originated the "superstation" concept, transmitting via satellite to cable systems.

On December 17, 1976 at 1:00PM, WTCG Channel 17's signal was beamed via satellite to its four cable systems in Grand Island, Nebraska; Newport News, Virginia; Troy, Alabama; and Newton, Kansas. All four cable systems started receiving the 1948 Dana Andrews - Cesar Romero film Deep Waters already in progress. The movie had started 30 minutes earlier. WTCG went from being a little television station to a major TV network that every one of the 24,000 households outside of the 675,000 in Atlanta was receiving coast-to-coast. WTCG became a so-called Superstation and created a precedent of today's basic cable television.

HBO had gone to satellite transmissions to distribute its signal nationally in 1975, but that was a service cable subscribers were made to pay extra to receive. Ted Turner's innovation signaled the start of the basic cable revolution.

In 1979, the company changed its name to Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.) and the call letters of its main entertainment channel to WTBS.


On June 1, 1980, CNN was launched at 17:00 EST becoming the first 24-hour news cable channel. The husband and wife team of Dave Walker and Lois Hart news anchored the first newscast, Burt Reinhardt the then executive vice president of CNN, hired most of CNN's first 200 employees & 25-member staff including Bernard Shaw, the network's first news anchor.

In 1981, Turner Broadcasting System acquired Brut Productions from Faberge Inc.[6]

In 1984, Turner initiated Cable Music Channel, his competition for WASEC's MTV. The channel was short-lived, but helped influence the original format of VH1.

In 1986, after a failed attempt to acquire CBS, Turner purchased the film studio MGM/UA Entertainment Co. from Kirk Kerkorian for $1.5 billion. Following the acquisition, Turner had an enormous debt and sold parts of the acquisition. MGM/UA Entertainment was sold back to Kirk Kerkorian. The MGM/UA Studio lot in Culver City was sold to Lorimar/Telepictures. Turner kept MGM's pre-May 1986 and pre-merger film and TV library, which included nearly all of MGM's material made before the merger, and a small portion of United Artists' film and TV properties which included few UA pictures, the TV series Gilligan's Island (as well as its animated spin-offs), the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the RKO Radio Pictures library, and the pre-1950[7][8][9] Warner Bros. library and the Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Popeye cartoons that both were once the property of Associated Artists Productions, which merged with United Artists Television in 1958. Turner Entertainment Co. was founded on August 4, 1986.

On October 3, 1988, the company launched Turner Network Television (TNT).


Turner expanded its presence in movie production and distribution, first with the 1991 purchase of the Hanna-Barbera animation studio.[10] On December 22, 1993, Turner acquired Castle Rock Entertainment. Turner purchased New Line Cinema a month later.[11][12][13]

Turner launched Cartoon Network on October 1, 1992, followed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on April 14, 1994.

On October 10, 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner, a company formed in 1989 by the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications. Through this merger, Warner Bros. had regained the rights to its pre-1950 library, while Turner gained access to the company's post-1950 library and other properties.


In 2003, Philip I. Kent succeeded Jamie Kellner as chairman. Operational duties for The WB were transferred by Time Warner from Warner Bros. to Turner Broadcasting during 2001, while Kellner was chairman, but were returned to Warner Bros. in 2003 with the departure of Kellner.

On February 23, 2006, the company agreed to sell the regional entertainment channel Turner South to Fox Entertainment Group. Fox assumed control of the channel on May 1, and on October 13 relaunched it as SportSouth - coincidentally, the former name of Fox Sports South when Turner owned this channel in partnership with Liberty Media between 1990 and 1996.

In May 2006 Time Warner, which had owned 50% of Court TV since 1998, purchased the remaining 50% from Liberty Media and began running the channel as part of Turner Broadcasting. The channel was relaunched as TruTV on January 1, 2008.

Also in May 2006, Ted Turner attended his last meeting as a board member of Time Warner and officially parted with the company.

On October 5, 2007, Turner Broadcasting System completed the acquisition of Claxson Interactive Pay Television Networks in Latin America.[14]


On August 26, 2010 Turner Broadcasting took full control of Chilevisión, a TV channel owned by Chile's President Sebastián Piñera.[15]

On September 8, 2011 Turner Broadcasting System acquired LazyTown Entertainment, the producer of the TV series LazyTown.[16]

On January 1, 2014, John K. Martin succeeded Phil Kent as chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting.[17]

On August 26, 2014, it was reported that Turner Broadcasting was preparing to fire 550 people before an NBA rights deal.[18] It was further reported in October 2014 that the company planned to reduce its workforce by 10% (1,475 people) through layoffs across a wide set of units including corporate positions.[19]

On August 14, 2015, it was announced that Turner Broadcasting had acquired a majority stake in iStreamPlanet, a Las Vegas-based video streaming services company, in an effort to bolster its over-the-top programming and shift its core technology infrastructure to the cloud. iStreamPlanet is a direct competitor of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. The deal was reported to be in the neighborhood of $200 million.[20]

Turner Broadcasting System logo until 2015
Former Turner/Turner Broadcasting System logo from 1987 to November 2, 2015


U.S. domestic


Movies & Entertainment

Terrestrial Broadcasting

Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media

Interactive/broadband sites



Latin America
The channels in Latin America are controlled by Turner Broadcasting System Latin America, headquartered in Atlanta. It broadcasts Latin American versions of U.S. channels, and also channels that are exclusive for the region. TBS LA also handles advertising sales for Warner Channel (owned by fellow Time Warner division Warner Bros. Entertainment) and for the Brazilian action sports channel Woohoo.

News and Information


Kids and Teens



Movies & Entertainment



Other regions

Regional News




Former assets

* Now owned or absorbed by sister company, Warner Bros.


  1. "Pressroom". Turner.
  2. Nellie Andreeva. "David Levy Upped To President Of Turner Broadcasting System". Deadline. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  3. "JOHN MARTIN BIO". Turner.
  4. "Contact Us." Turner Broadcasting System.
  5. "TERMS OF USE". Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  6. "Faberge Sells Brut's Assets". http://www.nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  7. You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story, (2008) p. 255.
  8. WB retained a pair of features from 1949 that they merely distributed, and all short subjects released on or after September 1, 1948; in addition to all cartoons released in August 1948.
  9. "Media History Digital Library".
  10. Lippman, John (October 30, 1991). "Turner Is Buying Hanna-Barbera Film Library". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
  11. Harris, Kathryn (August 7, 1993). "New Line Cinema holding merger talks with Turner".
  12. Citron, Alan (August 18, 1993). "Turner gets nod to buy New Line and Castle Rock".
  13. Turner Broadcasting Company Report. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C.
  14. "Claxson Interactive Group Inc (XSONF.PK)". Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  15. "Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. to Acquire Chilevisión". Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  16. Turner, Mimi (8 September 2011). "'Lazytown' Founder Sells To Turner Broadcasting For $25 Million". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. "Turner". John Martin Bio.
  18. "Report: Turner to fire 550 people in advance of rising NBA rights deal". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  19. Friedman, Wayne (October 6, 2014). "Turner Broadcasting To Cut 10% Of Workforce". MediaDailyNews. New York: MediaPost Communications.
  20. Ramachandran, Shalini. "Time Warner's Turner Cable Unit Acquires Majority Stake In iStreamPlanet". The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  21. "Turner Publishing".
  22. "WCW: How It Died, and How WWE and Vince McMahon Made Sure It Never Rose Again". Bleacher Report.

External links

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