Don't Let Turner Classic Movies Slip Away

Maureen Dowd puts in her plea to save the cable network and its films, a 'great expander of horizons'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2023 8:00 AM CDT
Don't Let Turner Classic Movies Slip Away
This photo shows actors Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the film "Casablanca."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros.)

The Turner Classic Movies channel is currently in "turmoil" and what will happen next remains unclear after a house cleaning under David Zaslav, the CEO of parent company Warner Bros. Discovery. Writing for the New York Times, Maureen Dowd makes a plea to "save Turner Classic Movies," revealing she was "distraught" to hear that TCM's future might be in peril. She writes that the network is "more than a cable channel" and compares it to "a public good, like libraries or the Smithsonian"—not just because she has a nostalgic penchant for black-and-white films, but for the fact that movies serve as a "great expander of horizons," and one that can impart valuable life lessons. "I have never had a stylist, interior decorator, life coach, or psychiatrist," she writes. "I have used TCM for all that, and it has gotten me through bouts of sickness, stress, mourning, and insomnia."

"Studying the channel's film noir femmes fatales taught me that women could be tough and play the game better than any man," Dowd continues. "Watching screwball comedies taught me the value of a zany streak." She adds that "anyone in power in Hollywood should feel it is a matter of honor to protect this legacy," then relays a recent phone call she had with one of those people in power: Zaslav himself, who called TCM his "favorite channel" and vowed to inject more cash into it while boosting marketing efforts. "I think it's critically important. ... It tells you where America was and where America's going," he told Dowd. "It defines how people see this country. This is a beautiful living history." Dowd's hopeful but wary response to Zaslav, as written in her column: "I'll be watching." Read Dowd's essay in full here, including why she feels so tied to films about the Titanic. (More Turner Classic Movies stories.)

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