People are rallying to save Turner Classic Movies after rumors the beloved channel is at risk
TCM is home to some of history's most beloved movies.
Cinema might be the epitome of commercial entertainment and a juggernaut of capitalism, but it is also a valuable art form. Since screening “Gone With the Wind” back in 1994, the television network Turner Classic Movies has celebrated the craftsmanship of filmmaking by airing timeless classics, foreign films and renowned art-house movies—all without a barrage of commercials, no less.
Despite being a brand associated with the past, TCM impressively appeals to both young and old audiences. This is due in part to focusing on education with guest introductions, documentaries, their Criterion Collection, and even their “Reframed” series that addressed problematic issues in certain Hollywood staples like “The Jazz Singer” and “My Fair Lady.”
The network also creates authentic connection with fans through annual film festivals, a dedicated cruise, and even an official wine club. Heck, TCM even has a TikTok account and the clips are like tiny sips of delicious, comforting nostalgia.
@tcm “I’m not like other guys!” 🤪 #oldhollywood #pickme #filmtok ♬ original sound - Turner Classic Movies
Unlike other cable channels (and even commercially successful streaming apps) TCM has helped countless viewers not only consume their content, but truly fall into love with what the content represents—history, romance, art, culture, fantasy, and the serenity of slowing down.
With all the inspiration TCM has provided to cinephiles over the years, it’s no wonder why the news of possibly losing such a sanctuary is hitting people—real people, not just Hollywood heavyweights—so hard.
The basic gist is this: The Warner Bros. Discovery corporation, which TCM is a part of, underwent another round of job cuts, which included a departure of five major TCM executives. This decision adds to the growing list of questionable choices made by WBD David Zaslav which seem to indicate a loyalty towards the bottom line over…well, anything else, really. And while the effects of this leadership shakeup have yet to be revealed, TCM loyalists fear it signals impending doom for the network.
With the apparent burnout of superhero blockbusters and overabundance of reality TV shows, some view TCM as perhaps the last place to escape into something pure on the screen.
TCM is an oasis in a broadcast desert. Instead of cheap-to-produce home improvement shows and real housewives, it celebrates the visual story telling and the American art form, film. Please, WBD, #SaveTCM! pic.twitter.com/GqIO6T86qf— LaurieH118 (@LaurieH118) June 22, 2023
Turner Classic Movies is a Technicolor spot in a bleak, grey world. Why would you take away one of the few wholesome sources of joy left? #SaveTCM— Jennifer Ann Redmond (@JA_Redmond) June 22, 2023
Others feel the potential loss of such a rich database of history.
I’m catching up on the @tcm news. Without @tcm, the world loses oral history from film in addition to the films themselves.— Andie Redwine 🟧 (@AndieRedwine) June 21, 2023
Many of these films would be lost to the ages without the film historians at @tcm keeping them alive both through the channel and the festival.#SaveTCM
And if there’s any doubt as to the fearsome devotion folks have to their beloved network, one fan declared, “I will call out of work and picket. If there are gates to chain myself to, I will. TCM is more than a channel, it’s a community and an invaluable historic archive.” The folks aren’t messing around.
Of course, major filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese have also shared concern, even having a meeting with Zaslav to discuss TCM’s future. According to Deadline, both directors were “heartened and encouraged by the conversations thus far.” Perhaps people won’t have to resort to the picket lines to keep this cultural benchmark alive. Hollywood already has enough of those going around these days.
History is a valuable teacher. Simple comfort is sacred. Art is priceless. This is wisdom the human heart intuitively knows, that corporations can never comprehend. And while this news is alarming for many, the good thing to be gleaned from it all is that we haven’t fully given in to pure consumerism just yet. By and large, people will still choose that which inspires. And clearly, they are even willing to fight for it.