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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 vast 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. Not only did this put TCM and Warner Bros. under the same corporate umbrella, but it also gave TCM access to the post-1948 Warner Bros. library (which itself includes other acquired properties such as the Lorimar, Saul Zaentz, and National General Pictures libraries).

Besides MGM and United Artists releases, TCM also shows films under license from Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Productions and Columbia Pictures. Most pre-1950 Paramount releases are owned by Universal, today a division of NBC Universal, while Paramount (currently owned by Viacom) holds on to most of its post-1950 releases, which are handled for television by CBS Television Distribution. Columbia is owned by Sony, and 20th Century Fox is owned by the News Corporation.

About TCM[]

In stark contrast to American Movie Classics (AMC) and another competitor, the Fox Movie Channel (FMC), which shows only 20th Century Fox movies, TCM is essentially commercial-free (advertising only products available at the TCM Web site, a subscription-based monthly program guide, and movies airing on TCM). TCM's content has also remained mostly uncut (depending upon the original content of movies, particularly movies rated by the MPAA after 1968). From time to time, the channel shows restored versions of films, particularly old silent films with newly commissioned musical soundtracks. 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). TCM is also a major backer of WGBH's Descriptive Video Service program, and many of the films aired on the network have visual description for the blind and visually-impaired, which are accessible through the "second audio program" (or SAP) option through a television menu system or cable/satellite receiver.

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. Unlike AMC or FMC, Turner Classic Movies presents many of its features in their original screen format (widescreen or full-screen).

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 (this festival is called 31 Days of Oscar). 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 Specialties, Robert Benchley, etc.) as part of TCM's One Reel Wonders. Beginning 10 September 2007 some of the short films featured on TCM appeared on their online TCM Schedule at Critically acclaimed documentary films are frequently shown, along with limited-run television shows (such as reruns or new episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, Thursdays at 8 pm, during the Fall 2006 season.)

Although a vast majority of TCM's movies are classics from the 1930s-1950s (with silent movies and post-1960 movies being occasionally shown; among the most recent films shown on the network were 2001's Spirited Away, 2002's The Clay Bird and 2003's The Return of the King, the network also airs original content, (mostly documentaries about classic movie personalities and particularly notable films). Most feature movies shown in prime time (8pm-3am Eastern 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 (The Young Turks), Herman Mankiewicz's grandson and great-nephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

A TCM staple, The Essentials, is a weekly program on Saturdays at 8pm EST, spotlighting a specific movie and containing a special introduction and post-movie discussion. The spotlight movie is often replayed the following Sunday at 6 pm EST. The Essentials was originally hosted by director/producer/actor Rob Reiner, followed by fellow producer/film director/actors Sydney Pollack and Peter Bogdanovich. In May 2006, hosting duties were taken over by Robert Osborne and Molly Haskell. Carrie Fisher replaced Haskell when The Essentials returned for its new season in March 2007 following its annual "31 Days of Oscar" festival. Rose McGowan will replace Fisher for the 2008 season in March 2008 after the 2008 "31 Days" festival.

Each August, TCM suspends its regular schedule for a special "month of stars", featuring entire days devoted to a single star, offering movies and specials pertaining to the star of the day.

Sunday nights at midnight is Silent Sunday Nights, which features silent movies from the United States and abroad, usually in the latest restored version and often with new music scores. Silent Sunday Nights is occasionally pre-empted for other special programming.

In 2000, TCM launched the annual Young Composers Film Competition, inviting aspiring composers to participate in a judged competition. Grand prize has been the opportunity to score a restored, feature-length silent film, mentored by a well-known composer, with subsequent premiere of the new work on the TCM channel. As of 2006, films which have been rescored include Camille (1921) with Rudolph Valentino, two Lon Chaney films, Ace of Hearts (1921) and Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928), and Greta Garbo's The Temptress (1926).

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. Cartoon Alley has since been canceled.

In October 2006 the network premiered a new late-night series hosted by rocker/filmmaker Rob Zombie called "TCM Underground," which features a number of cult films personally selected by Zombie. Films in the series include Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959), Sisters (1973), Night of the Living Dead (1968), Bride of the Monster (1955), Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), and Electra Glide in Blue (1973).

In the summer of 2007, the network began a "Funday Night at the Movies", hosted by voice-over actor Tom Kenny (best known as the voice of Spongebob Squarepants). This series of programming, which lasted throughout the summer, brought classic films such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Sounder (1972), Bringing Up Baby (1938), and Singin' in the Rain (1952) to a whole new generation of children and their families.

More recently, TCM has collaborated in boxed set DVD releases of previously unreleased films by noted actors, directors, or studios. The sets often include bonus discs including documentaries and shorts from the TCM library.

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.

International version[]

In Canada, Turner Classic Movies debuted on November 1, 2005 on the Shaw Cable system and Star Choice satellite service. Rogers Cable started offering TCM on December 12, 2006 as a free preview channel for all digital customers, and will be adding it to the "Ultimate TV" analogue package on or around February 1, 2007. While the schedule for the Canadian channel is generally the same as the US channel, some films are replaced for broadcast into Canada due to rights issues and other reasons.

In Europe, Turner Classic Movies is available as three separate channels for France, Spain and the UK/Ireland, and a panregional channel with various feeds in different languages.

In Asia and Oceania, Turner Classic Movies is available as one feed that serves more than 14 territories.

TCM is also available in Latin America, but this version receives little attention unlike the US and Europe counterparts. This version in Latin America is called, TCM Classic Hollywood.

TCM 2[]

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 Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, North by Northwest and Meet Me in St. Louis, among others.


Asia Pacific[]

  • Television Oceania - Australia
  • Foxtel - Australia
  • Austar - Australia
  • Cable TV Hong Kong - Hong Kong
  • now TV - Hong Kong
  • TVB Pay Vision (formerly SuperSun) - Hong Kong
  • First Media - Indonesia
  • Dream Satellite TV - Philippines
  • SkyCable Platinum - Philippines - Channel 105
  • Cablelink - Philippines
  • Global Destiny Cable - Philippines
  • StarHub Digital Cable - Singapore
  • Dish TV - India
  • TrueVisions - Thailand - Channel 32
  • Sky Network Television - New Zealand
  • TelstraClear InHomeTV - New Zealand
  • Sky Pacific - Fiji Islands



  • Sky


  • TVA
  • NET
  • Vivax
  • Cabo



  • Star Choice


  • Shaw Cable
  • Rogers Cable


  • UNE Telecomunicaciones



  • Canal Digital
  • Stofa
  • Selector
  • Viasat


  • CanalSat
  • Numericable


  • Arena
  • Premiere
  • Tividi
  • Kabel Digital
  • Kabelkiosk


  • Nova



  • yes D.B.S. Satellite Services


  • Hot



  • SKY

Middle East, Africa, and the Levant territories[]

For the Middle East, North Africa, and the Levant territories broadcasting via satellite, from pay-TV networks such as Showtime Arabia and Orbit Satellite Television and Radio Network.

It available on DStv in South Africa and surrounding countries.

The Netherlands[]

  • Casema Digital Plus Package



  • Cyfra+
  • n
  • Cyfrowy Polsat


  • UPC
  • Vectra
  • Multimedia Polska
  • Aster

cablevision. Cablenetwork n ok cable



  • TV Cabo

Republic of Ireland[]

  • UPC Ireland
  • SCTV
  • Sky Ireland
  • Magnet Networks



  • iNES

Internet TV

  • i-TV


  • Boom TV
  • Digi TV
  • Dolce
  • Focus Sat
  • Max TV


  • UPC Romania


  • Телевидение ВТ - г.Пермь (English: Television VT - g.Perm)


  • Digital+
  • ONO



  • Com Hem
  • Viasat
  • Canal Digital
  • Boxer


  • D-Smart

United Kingdom[]


  • Virgin Media
  • Chorus
  • WightCable

Digital Terrestrial

  • Top Up TV


  • Sky Digital

United States[]


  • DirecTV
  • Dish Network


  • Seen on most cable systems; check local listings for availability


  • Intercable

See also[]

  • List of DirecTV channels
  • List of Dish Network channels

External links[]