- This article is about the US television channel. For the British version, see Turner Classic Movies (UK).
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a cable television channel featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and Warner Bros. film libraries, which include many MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. titles.
The channel, created by Ted Turner as part of his Turner Broadcasting System, began broadcasting on April 14, 1994. The date was chosen for its significance as "the exact centennial anniversary of the first public movie showing in New York City."
Before the creation of TCM, quite a few titles from its incredible library of movies were broadcast - with commercial interruptions - on Turner's TNT channel, along with Turner's controversial colorized versions of black and white classics such as The Maltese Falcon.
When TCM was created in 1994, however, colorization did not carry over to the new channel. As Gary R. Edgerton wrote in the Winter, 2000 issue of The Journal of Popular Film and Television, TCM immediately advertised itself in April, 1994 "with the promise: 'uninterrupted, uncolorized and commercial-free!' Attitudes had evidently come full circle. Colorization was now unfashionable and unprofitable--even for Ted Turner and his colleagues at TBS."
In 1996, the Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner, making TCM a Warner Bros.-owned property.
In stark contrast to American Movie Classics (AMC) and another competitor, the Fox Movie Channel (FMC), which shows only 20th Century Fox movies and is premium only, TCM is entirely commercial free. TCM's content has also remained mostly uncut (depending upon the original content of movies, particularly movies rated by the MPAA after 1968). The British version of TCM does interrupt movies for commercials, although the majority of movies are uncut (depending on what time of the day the movie is transmitted).
Also unlike AMC and FMC, Turner Classic Movies' regular programming spans almost the entire history of film, from the 1920s forward, including, of late, a few post-1970 films. A given day may begin with 1924's Greed and conclude with the 1989 film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
As a result, viewers interested in tracing the career development of actresses like Barbara Stanwyck or Greta Garbo or actors like Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart have the unique ability to see most of the feature films made during their careers, from beginning to end. Many films aired on TCM are not, at present, available on DVD, thereby increasing accessibility of many of these works.
Its programming season runs from March until the following February of each year when a retrospective of Oscar-winning and Oscar-nominated movies is shown. TCM occasionally shows some classic 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Columbia Pictures movies, but they have to be licensed individually. Gaps between features are filled with theatrically released movie trailers and classic short subjects (from series such as The Passing Parade, Crime Does Not Pay, Pete Smith, Robert Benchley, etc.) as part of TCM's One Reel Wonders. Critically acclaimed documentaries are frequently shown.
Although a vast majority of TCM's movies are classics from the 1930s-1950s (with many silent movies and post-1960 movies occasionally shown), the network also airs original content, mostly documentaries about classic movie personalities and particularly notable films. Most feature movies shown in primetime (5pm-10pm Pacific Standard Time) are presented by film historian Robert Osborne, who has been with the network since its launch in 1994. More recently, movies shown during the daytime on weekends are presented by Ben Mankiewicz, talk radio host ("Young Turks"), Herman Mankiewicz's grandson and great-nephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
In November 2004, perhaps in response to Cartoon Network's removal of classic cartoons, TCM began to broadcast a half-hour monthly (bi-weekly as of the fall of 2005) show entitled Cartoon Alley which featured cartoons from animation's Golden Age.
As of November 1, 2005 TCM became available in Canada on the Shaw Cable system and Star Choice satellite service. Some films are replaced for broadcast into Canada due to rights issues and other reasons.
TCM is headquartered at the Techwood Campus in Atlanta, Georgia in Mid-town. Since 1994, Tom Karsch has overseen the expansion of the network as the general manager and executive vice president. TCM is available in many other countries around the world.
In Europe, there is Turner Classic Movies available in three separate channels for France, Spain and the UK/Ireland, and a panregional channel with various feeds in different languages.
In Asia and Oceania there is Turner Classic Movies, available in 14 feeds.
In Latin America, there is also TCM, but this version is the weakest of the international versions. The Latin American version is not considered popular as the US and Europe counterparts.
- Main article: TCM 2
In Britain, TCM 2 launched on May 2, 2006. The channel, which is a spin-off from the UK version of TCM, shows the bigger films from the MGM and Warner film archives including The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, North by Northwest, Easter Parade, among others.
- Dish Network
- Bright House Networks
- Bresnan Communications
- Cebridge Connections
- Midcontinent Communications
- Time Warner
- Shaw Cable
- Top Up TV
- Sky Digital
- Melita Digital
- NTL Telewest
- Melita Cable
- Now TV - Hong Kong
- TVB Pay Vision (formerly Supersun) - Hong Kong
- Dream TV - Philippines
- SkyCable Platinum - Philippines
- Global Destiny Cable - Philippines
- Television Oceania - Australia
- Astro - Malaysia
- StarHub Digital Cable - Singapore
- Digital Plus