In 2014, then-Turner CEO John Martin announced Turner 2020, an initiative to “futureproof” the Time Warner company by cutting costs and improving financials ahead of the company’s fiftieth anniversary in 2020. Instead, Turner Broadcasting will cease to exist, just short of that anniversary.
On Monday morning, WarnerMedia (the name for the Time Warner assets after AT&T acquired the company) announced a restructuring with HBO, TBS, TNT, and truTV, and the planned streaming service falling under WarnerMedia Entertainment and new head Bob Greenblatt. Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN Worldwide, also gained oversight of Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, and the AT&T Regional Sports Networks as part of the new WarnerMedia News & Sports. Zucker will continue to run CNN Worldwide (and he has gained a reputation as a very hands-on manager who is frequently involved with coverage decisions and leads the morning editorial call). The other key parts of Turner Broadcasting, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies, will move to Warner Bros.
The decision kills the Turner Broadcasting division. The company was founded by Ted Turner who turned a local TV station into a national Superstation and then went on to revolutionize television news with CNN and gave the MGM film library he bought a home on TCM. The Mouth of the South later sold his company to Time Warner and served as an executive for Time Warner and on the board of directors although he later quit both positions (he was fired as head of Time Warner’s cable division, however). Turner has said in the past that he regretted selling his company and losing control.
“When the company operated as individual divisions, it made sense for the Turner brand to exist as a parent company to multiple brands,” Anne Damron, a spokesperson for WarnerMedia told TKNN, “With the new structure of WarnerMedia, we no longer need this additional layer of branding and will be evolving the Turner brand into the WarnerMedia brand in the weeks and months ahead.”
Turner Broadcasting’s headquarters were in Atlanta with two primary locations: the actual headquarters at Techwood and the CNN Center, CNN’s worldwide headquarters, although executives in recent years had moved to other locations. However, Damron told TKNN, “The Atlanta office and operations will continue to exist. There are no plans to close it down.”
The Turner name will not be completely dead, however. Turner Sports is the live sports division and Damron told TKNN, “There are currently no plans to change the name.” There is also Turner Classic Movies. TNT and TBS, which almost always referred to by their initials anymore, both have the T stand for Turner. However, just like Turner Broadcasting, it’s now just hidden.