Steven Spielberg attends the 55th Annual Cinema Audio Society Awards at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on February 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Discovery of Warner Bros. enlists a filmmaker mastermind to help lead the curation and programming of its cable TV channel Turner Classic Movies, after a shake-up in management left fans worried about the network’s future .
“Jaws” director Steven Spielberg, “Goodfellas” director Martin Scorsese and “Boogie Nights” filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson have officially signed on to contribute to TCM, the company and the filmmakers announced Wednesday. The filmmakers will work closely with heads of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group, Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, who are overseeing curation and programming after a series of layoffs and management shakeups at TCM, according to the company.
“We have already started working on ideas with Mike and Pam, two true movie buffs who share a passion and respect for classic cinema that is the hallmark of the TCM community,” the three filmmakers said in a statement on Wednesday. joint. “This unique arrangement, initiated by David Zaslav, reflects his commitment to honoring the legacy of TCM while also involving us in curatorial and programming.”
The filmmakers’ inclusion came after employees of Warner Bros. Discovery faced another round of layoffs last week, particularly in its portfolio of cable TV networks.
Part of that was a major shake-up at the TCM, recognized as a place of preservation for classic films and carefully curated programming complemented by guest star introductions. The changes had sparked concern among moviegoers and those dedicated to film preservation, who expressed their distress on social media.
The filmmakers also applauded the fact that longtime programming chief Charles Tabesh, who was originally slated to leave as part of the shakeup, will remain with the network.
David Zaslav, CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery.
Anjali Sundaram | CNBC
Last week, the filmmakers said in a statement that Zaslav had contacted and reassured them, and that they were committed to working with the company for the future of TCM.
Since the merger in 2022 between Warner Bros. and Discovery, the company has undertaken a number of cost-cutting initiatives, including layoffs and reduced content spend.
In the months leading up to the job cuts and changes to networks including TCM, Zaslav and Spielberg had conversations about TCM’s future, according to a person familiar with the matter. Zaslav also struck up conversation with Spielberg, Scorsese and Anderson last week.
Spielberg and Anderson and joined Zaslav in a panel at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April on film preservation efforts, according to media reports.
Warner Bros. Discovery and its theatrical chiefs recently touted the company’s increased investment in TCM.
“TCM is a cultural treasure that WBD is fully committed to safeguarding, supporting and investing in for the future. This year, investment in TCM content has increased by 30% and we plan to build on that in years to come,” a company spokesperson said. in a report. “That said, TCM isn’t immune to the very real pressure on the entire linear ecosystem, but we’ve taken steps to ensure we stay true to the network’s mission – to stream more than titles, drive investment in content, and preserve and protect film culture.”
The increased investment will go towards licensing new movies and bringing a larger slate to the network, according to the person familiar with the matter.