Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson are reassuring fans of Turner Classic Movies, the classic film network and brand in the midst of a shakeup that has startled cinephiles.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, the three filmmakers said that Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav had reached out to them earlier in the week about his plans to restructure TCM, which saw its executive vp and general manager, Pola Chagnon, exit this week after more than 25 years at the company, along with key members of her team. Michael Ouweleen, the president of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Discovery Family and Boomerang, will assume oversight of TCM.
“We have each spent time talking to David, separately and together, and it’s clear that TCM and classic cinema are very important to him,” the directors’ statement reads. “Our primary aim is to ensure that TCM’s programming is untouched and protected. We are heartened and encouraged by the conversations we’ve had thus far, and we are committed to working together to ensure the continuation of this cultural touchstone that we all treasure.”
The TCM shake-up comes as WBD is undergoing a round of cuts to its domestic networks team, but the media conglomerate’s classic film brand is one with a deep connection to Hollywood’s creative community and news of changes there had begun stirring a strong response both publicly and privately. After news of Chagnon and her team”s departure broke this week, Ryan Reynolds tweeted, “Turner Classic Movies has been a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s a holy corner of film history — and a living, breathing library for an entire art form. Please don’t fuck with @tcm.”
In April, Zaslav took the unusual step for a CEO of appearing on stage on opening night of TCM’s Classic Film Festival alongside Spielberg and Anderson for a conversation about film preservation moderated by the network’s longtime host Ben Mankiewicz. “The movies taught people the stories of America, the stories of the world and in some ways how to be an American,” Zaslav said at that event.
(Excerpt) Read more in: The Hollywood Reporter