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Turner Broadcasting System

Turner Broadcasting System

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (often abbreviated TBS Networks or TBS, Inc.) is the company managing the collection of cable networks and properties started by Robert Edward "Ted" Turner from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s.

Their current assets include CNN, TBS, Turner Network Television, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, and over-the-air Atlanta station WPCH-17 (formerly WTBS, a near-simulcast of the national TBS).

TBS also manages Turner Entertainment Company, the holding company for Turner's library of classic films from most of the pre-1986 MGM, pre-1948 Warner Bros. and US/Canadian, Latin American, and Australian rights to the RKO Pictures catalogs. Turner Broadcasting also owns PC gaming service GameTap, online comedy portal Super Deluxe, and online shopping service Bamzu.

TBS, Inc. merged with Time Warner in 1996, and now operates as a semi-autonomous unit of Time Warner. The current chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System is Philip I. Kent.

History

1970s

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

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

1980s

In 1980, the company broke new ground with the launch of CNN, the first 24-hour all-news network, forever changing the way the world saw breaking news.

In 1984, Turner launched Cable Music Channel, his competition to MTV. The channel was short-lived, but helped mold and launch the original format of VH1.

In November 1988, Turner purchased Jim Crockett Promotions, which was the forerunner for World Championship Wrestling.

1990s

Turner expanded its presence in film production and distribution, first with the 1991 purchase of Hanna-Barbera Productions. New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment would be acquired three years later.

Turner Broadcasting has grown at a phenomenal pace and now consists of the following networks and businesses: TBS, Turner Network Television (TNT), Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Boomerang, TNT Europe, Cartoon Network Europe, TruTV, Pogo, TNT Latin America, Cartoon Network Latin America, TNT & Cartoon Network/Asia Pacific, Cartoon Network Japan, Cable News Network (CNN), Headline News, CNN Pipeline, CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Airport Network, CNN en Español Radio, CNN.com, CNN Newsource, CNN+, and CNN Turk.

TBS, Inc. is the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry and employs more than 8,000 people worldwide.

2000s

Jamie Kellner became chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting in spring of 2001. In response to a question during an interview with Cableworld in April 2002 on why personal video recorders (PVR's) were bad for the industry, Kellner responded: "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming." See http://www.2600.com/news/view/article/1113

In 2003, Philip Kent took Kellner's place and is currently chairman. The former The WB Network was brought to the fold in 2001 during Kellner's watch, but returned to Warner Bros. in 2003 with the departure of Kellner.

In early 2006, the company sold Turner South to Fox Cable Networks creating SportSouth, a regional sports channel. Fox assumed control of the network on May 1, and at the beginning of the newest NHL season, rebranded it as SportSouth, coincidentally the former name of FSN South when Turner owned the network in partnership with Liberty Media, from its founding in 1990, until 1997.

In May 2006, Turner Broadcasting, which already owned 50% of Court TV, purchased the remaining half from Liberty Media.

Also in May 2006, Ted Turner attended his last meeting as a board member of Time Warner and officially bid adieu to the legacy he created at Turner Broadcasting.

In August 2006, Turner Broadcasting, along with Boomerang UK, volunteered to edit and censor most of the Hanna-Barbera shows after Ofcom UK received a complaint that the cigar smoking in a Tom & Jerry short was inappropriate.

Boston bomb scare

On January 31, 2007, Interference Inc., an advertising firm retained by Turner Broadcasting System Inc., placed several devices around the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and several other communities around the Boston metropolitan area as part of an advertising campaign.

The dozen or so devices were discovered throughout the day by concerned citizens and SWAT teams and prompted a massive metro-wide bomb scare as more and more devices were discovered. Turner confirmed the packages had been placed as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign, and a statement released by Turner Broadcasting clarified that the packages were in fact magnetic lights, not bombs. Two Boston-area men, Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky, who had been hired to place the devices by Interference Inc and Turner Broadcasting Systems, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and "placing a hoax device."

Adding to the bizarre nature of the incident, as late as 1 p.m. on January 31st, CNN.com was reporting the incident as a "bomb scare", despite the fact that CNN and Turner Broadcasting are owned by the same parent company, Time Warner Inc. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, and other interested parties seemed to regain their sense of humor about the incident as soon as Philip I. Kent offered to compensate the city and other affected agencies for their expenses, although one or another individuals at Turner Broadcasting Systems would appear to be guilty of conspiracy to place the hoax devices.

According to Massachusetts law, a "hoax device" is "any object that a reasonable person might assume to be infernal" (explosive), and is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment. (Source: Jan Freeman, The Boston Globe, Ideas section, "The Word" February 4, 2007)

On Feb. 2, 2007 Turner Broadcasting System apologized to Boston-area residents for the security scare that had bomb squads checking out electronic signs that were part of a nationwide marketing campaign for its subsidiary Cartoon Network, according to NewsMax.com. Phil Kent, Turner's chairman and CEO, made the apology in full-page ads in Boston newspapers for "the confusion and inconvenience". "We never intended this outcome and certainly did not set out to perpetrate a hoax. What we did is inadvertently cause a great American city to deal with the unintended impact of this marketing campaign. For this, we are deeply sorry."

On Monday, February 5, Turner Broadcasting agreed to pay $2 million dollars to the city of Boston and surrounding communities affected by the bomb scare. $1 million dollars will be used to reimburse agencies involved in the event and the other $1 million will go to fund Homeland Security.

Jim Samples, president of the Cartoon Network, resigned on February 9, 2007 after being network president for 5 years.

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