TCM Survives Turner Layoffs, Announces New G.M.

RobertAfter months of speculation in the wake of announced layoffs and buyouts, and a grassroots campaign in support of Turner Classic Movies and its staff, the impact cost-cutting initiatives at Turner Broadcasting will have on TCM is now clear.

First, the good news: TCM will continue to air classic films without commercial interruption, as the channel has done for the last two decades, to the delight of millions of viewers (including this one). And the popular “off-channel” experiences that allow TCM’s fiercely loyal fan base (again, looking in the mirror) to connect with the network in-person will continue.

“TCM is committed to maintaining the same high quality you’ve come to expect from us,” a Turner spokesperson told me. “That includes TCM’s extraordinary lineup of movies, which will continue to be presented uncut and commercial-free, as well as live events like the TCM Classic Film Festival and the TCM Cruise.”

Also, in the wake of an extensive management reorganization at Turner that culminated with the hiring of Kevin Reilly as the new head of TNT and TBS last week, I can report exclusively that TCM has a new general manager. 

Jennifer Dorian Portrait Senior Vice President, Strategy DevelopmentEffective immediately, Jennifer Dorian, previously the chief strategy officer for Turner Entertainment Networks, takes on the position of general manager of TCM, a role formerly filled by Jeff Gregor. Whereas Gregor managed the channel in addition to his responsibilities as chief marketing officer for sister networks TNT and TBS, Dorian will be dedicated solely to TCM, which will remain based in Atlanta.

In her previous role with the company, Dorian had been in charge of strategy development for TNT, TBS, truTV, and TCM. She joined Turner fifteen years ago after stints at Pizza Hut, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company and led the rebranding of TNT in 2000 and TBS in 2004, as well as the relaunch of Court TV as truTV in 2007. But perhaps most notably to TCM fans, according to Deadline Hollywood, Turner management credits Dorian “with the exploration of brand extension into new areas – such as TCM’s Classic Film Festival.” The fact that the new TCM chief helped to establish a hugely popular venue for viewers to connect with the network face-to-face should be encouraging to loyalists.

Now the bad news: there will be fewer of those faces at the network to connect with.

twI’m told by a source that Turner has laid off approximately a dozen TCM employees as part of the company-wide Turner 2020 initiative, first revealed by CEO John Martin on June 2. While the loss of even one job at  is disheartening, it appears that TCM has been impacted the least of all the Turner networks in terms of headcount reductions.

On October 6, Turner announced they would eliminate 1,475 positions, including 975 in Atlanta, and those layoffs are already rolling out across the company. CNN has been hit with staff reductions in Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles, with roughly 300 positions – 8 percent of the network’s total staff – expected to be eliminated. And Layoff Fever has also spread throughout parent company Time Warner, with HBO expected to eliminate 7% of its 2,400 employees and Warner Bros. already in the process of cutting 10% of its 9,000 person workforce.

So how did TCM emerge from a harrowing and tumultuous period largely intact, when other sister networks within the company did not? Part of that may have to do with the channel’s relatively small full time staff. But perhaps a larger component has to do with Turner’s acknowledgment that TCM is a core brand with a passionate viewership that is fiercely loyal to the channel and its staff.

“(O)ur parent company recognizes that TCM is a very valuable jewel in the portfolio,” Scott McGee, a senior writer/producer at the network, told Alicia Mayer and me on a recent episode of Hollywood Time Machine.

With Dorian, a marketing guru described as “a big champion of the (TCM) brand,” at the helm, a newly autonomous Turner Classic Movies may be poised for growth in areas viewers can only imagine. And, as DISH network continues the inexplicable blackout of the channel that began on October 21, now may be the time for TCM to start thinking outside the (cable) box.

tcm-classic

About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in Slate.com and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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27 Responses to TCM Survives Turner Layoffs, Announces New G.M.

  1. Thanks Will for keeping us posted. Your timely reports are greatly appreciated.

  2. I’m heartened to read most of this news, but sad about anyone losing their job. (Especially someone working at TCM which, of course, seems like the perfect place to work.) Thanks so much for this post, Will!

    • I agree with Karen. It’s great knowing that TCM will continue showing classic films uncut and commercial free but it’s devastating knowing that a dozen people have lost their jobs. I guess we can be thankful that not more people were laid off.

      • willmckinley says:

        I agree, guys. One job lost, particularly at TCM, is awful. Looking at the big picture, though, it could have been much worse. They’ve added commercials to Boomerang, which previously had been almost entirely ad-free. They had made huge cuts at CNN, which has negatively impacted moral. TCM appears to have emerged from this intact, which is a huge relief. But my heart goes out to those who have lost jobs.

  3. Randi says:

    Glad to here the great news of TCM surviving completely intact. On another topic the day & date of the “Miracle on 34th St” showing in Herald Sq is skewed. The 22nd of Nov is a Saturday, Fri’s date is the 21st, so which is it on, FRI the 21st or Sat the 22nd?? Please look into this & post the correct day, date & time schedule.I tried to get this straight w the diff sites but to no avail. Thnx

  4. clawkent says:

    Fantastic news! Maybe they do know what a good thing they have. Is she by any chance related to Bob Dorian from AMC’s glory years?

    Thanks for posting this!

  5. Sandy F. says:

    So relieved to read this. TCM is the one channel I cannot go without.

    • Kelly says:

      I agree with you Sandy

      Turner Classic movies is my classic movie drug I can’t get away from it try get out of the classic movie viewing not going happen I feel like Michael Corlone in Godfather 3 I thought I was out they pull me back in

      Also I still fan of Movies tv network and Gettv here in Los Angeles market but sometime I get bored with them I put on Turner classic movies it is confort blanket on cold winter night in SO CAL

  6. Kelly says:

    Yeah thank you Will I thought I be seeing beginning of end of empire like Turner Classic movie they are the movie studio empire

    I don’t care about TNT CNN or Tru Tv or TBS
    I only give rat you know what about Turner Classic movies believe me if I want watch my international news fix I go to BBC news or Al Jazeera America

  7. vp19 says:

    Used your story as the basis for an entry of my own on TCM (giving you credit and a link, of course): http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/740964.html

  8. Kelly says:

    yeah we came we didn’t like so we hassle their facebook page GOOD that teach them not mess with Turner classic movies

    They could get rid of NBA Law and Order rerun Anderson Vanderblti leave Robert Osbroune alone at TCM he is Vin Scully of classic movie narration

  9. Pingback: TCM Brings MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET to Macy’s 34th Street | cinematically insane

  10. So glad to see this news that TCM survived pretty much intact. Hate that anyone had to lose their job. TCM is the ONLY reason I have a cable subscription.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop on this!

  11. Pingback: Turner Classic Movies Does Well By Warner-Turner Layoffs « Movie City News

  12. Patrick G says:

    I would be devastated if anything happened to TCM. It is our only connection with so many films that have never been released on DVD. I keep discovering films every month that I would have never seen had it not been for this vital channel. Thanks Mr. Osborne, Mr. Mankiewicz and to the author Mr. McKinley, for keeping us informed.

  13. Doug Miller says:

    Just discovered this blog. Thank you for it! Still trying to sort out the app. (watchtcm). Where can I find the list of cable providers with agreements for the app? Provider GCI here in Alaska doesn’t even answer questions unless they involve signing up for cable itself, so I’m hoping you might have an easier way. Any help appreciated.

  14. Pingback: TCM Introduces Jennifer Dorian as New GM, Seeks to “Grow” | cinematically insane

  15. Pingback: Changes at TCM – What they Mean for Classic Film Fans | cinematically insane

  16. Longshot says:

    The line up of movies in the last couple of weeks with more and more movies from 80’s, 90’s and even past 2000, I fear TCM will become another AMC full of garbage and commercials soon and to me it will be a damn shame. TCM is my fav. channel because of the Old Black and White films of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Of course the 60’s and some early 70’s also exploded what would be considered as Classic’s. But beyond this point I don’t want want to see these. There’s a Golden Age of Hollywood, I hope these people recognize that the last 45 years are not a part of it.

    Seems to me this world takes gems and destroys them for no sane reason. TCM is a Gem, let the rest of the 1,000 movie channels show the junk TCM has aired for the last two weeks. I don’t want to see it.

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