Changes at TCM – What they Mean for Classic Film Fans

osborne1“We definitely want to create on-ramps for a new generation to enjoy the classics,” newly appointed Turner Classic Movies general manager Jennifer Dorian said at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival.

The first of those ramps is open for business, as the 21-year-old network today announced its new tagline: “Let’s Movie.” The promotional campaign, which officially launches September 1, seeks to “attract an even broader audience of movie fans” through advertising on sister Turner networks and websites, electronic billboards in New York and Atlanta, and in movie theaters nationwide. There will also be an expanded social media presence culminating with a “holiday” on Saturday, September 19, when fans are encouraged to watch films communally and share their experiences using the #LetsMovie hashtag. (No word yet on whether TCM will ask your boss for the day off.)

TCM also released a slick new promotional ad designed to position the network as the “last standing, great movie-lover destination” (take that AMC!) In the minute-long spot, demographically diverse family members come together to watch THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE SEARCHERS, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, JAWS, BULLITT, BEN-HUR and CASABLANCA.

ben-mankiewicz-tcm-325Despite the fact that the ad only features films released between 1939 and 1974, and that no mention of programming changes was made in TCM’s press release, some viewers expressed concern that the initiative would lead to a shift in on-air content. Dorian and TCM host Ben Mankiewicz took to Twitter in an effort to allay the fears of a devoutly loyal fanbase, still skittish from the transition of American Movie Classics to the Breaking Bad channel.

#LetsMovie is our new marketing campaign, designed to include more people into the TCM family,” Mankiewicz tweeted. “NO CHANGES TO PROGRAMMING!”

“Same great programming mix, same uncut and commercial free! Just inviting more folks to the network,” Dorian added.

End of story, right? Sort of.

To understand what’s happening at TCM we need to go back to last fall, when a company-wide cost-cutting initiative hit Turner Broadcasting. TCM lost approximately 15 staffers to layoffs and buyouts – far fewer than other Turner networks, but still a tragedy (a staff of approximately 45 remains). Following the restructuring, TCM emerged as a separate and autonomous entity within Turner and gained a new general manager, Dorian, with a mission to “grow” the brand.

DorianA 15-year Turner veteran, Dorian had previously led the rebranding of TNT in 2000 and TBS in 2004, as well as the re-launch of Court TV as truTV in 2007, so some change in the channel’s identity was to be expected. That the change did not involve the addition of commercials – as happened at the previously ad-free Turner network Boomerang – was (and continues to be) welcome news.

“NO COMMERCIALS. EVER. EVER. EVER. EVER,” Ben Mankiewicz assured fans today, luring at least one or two off the digital ledge.

And TCM Senior VP of Programming Charles Tabesh was even more definitive at 2013 TCMFF.

“When AMC went commercial many years ago, the cable affiliates freaked out, because they were getting a lot of complaints from subscribers and they wanted to make sure that TCM never added commercials,” he said. “We’ve never had plans to add commercials. I think it’s actually written into some of our affiliate agreements.”

Thus, Dorian’s challenge: to increase profitability at America’s only remaining commercial-free basic cable movie network without the addition of on-air advertising revenue. The answer (at least in part): an evolving interpretation of “classic.”

We can debate the definition of classic until Buster Keaton’s cow from GO WEST comes home – and many fans do, practically daily, on TCM’s various social media outlets. While many diehards prefer their classics of an older, black-and-white vintage, others don’t. And, although the question is asked at the TCM Film Fest in Hollywood every single year, good luck getting a firm answer out of a staffer.

“There is no cutoff,” Tabesh said at the last TCMFF. “In the right context.”

A shift in TCM’s programming has been feared for years and, to some extent, is actually happening – but not in a way that affects the average viewer. A handful of more “contemporary” films were featured at the recent TCMFF, and TCM’s sightseeing bus tours (launched in New York in 2013 and Los Angeles in 2014) include frequent references to post-Studio Era films (L.A. far more so than NYC). TCM’s Fathom Events screening series (launched in 2012) also featured two films from the mid-to-late 1970s this summer: JAWS (1974) in June and a singalong edition of GREASE (1978) in August.

For the most part, this has been a perfect solution: fans can simply choose to opt out, based on personal taste. And those who have a deep and abiding hatred for GREASE (ahem) can save their money for upcoming TCM/Fathom screenings like PSYCHO (1960), DRACULA (1931), ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953) and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947).

To the frustration of some strict classic film constructionists, there has also been a subtle addition of newer movies to the on-air schedule, as well. But those films have largely aired in the overnight hours, due to TCM’s status on the basic cable tier.

“Most basic cable networks show edited versions. We won’t do that,” Tabesh said at TCMFF in 2013. “But the price we pay for that is, if there are a lot of F-words or nudity we have to play it later at night: after 10 p.m. West Coast time, which is 1 a.m. in New York. That’s really when we can get away with a lot more.”

Where the network has no limitations is on-line, where films that don’t meet broadcast standards are available on-demand on the excellent Watch TCM app. And this leads me to what I believe is the end-game for TCM and why the network’s branding now positions it as a destination for “great” movies rather than “old” movies: a standalone, subscription streaming service

“We have absolutely nothing to announce, no specific plans,” Dorian told me at the recent Film Festival. “But, like every TV brand, we’ve got to look at the future and new technologies and give people what they want.

TCM has already dipped their toe into streaming waters with their participation in DISH Network’s Sling TV, which allows subscribers to watch the network as part of a so-called “skinny bundle” of channels for just $25 per month. But the ability to subscribe to TCM directly, without committing to other channels, is on the horizon.

As cable and satellite subscribers cut the cord in record numbers, and Netflix continues to kick older films to the curb, TCM has a huge business opportunity in streaming. If the network brings a collection of “great” films from all eras direct to your home on-demand with expert curation, will you mind? And if expanding the parameters of “classic” attracts new paying customers of all ages to that service, will you be opposed? Finally, if a successful subscription VOD service allows TCM to keep their olde fashioned cable channel in business, without commercials, and consistently airing films from all eras, won’t you be happy? I sure will be, particularly because I’ll have dozens of other old movies to choose from on-demand if TCM happens to be airing something I don’t like.

In short (okay, not really, but I had a lot to say): this is great news for film fans of all tastes, but most particularly for classic movie purists who believe strongly in the importance of a high profile national venue for the films we love.

TCM may have hit a bit of a speed bump on their on-ramp today, but the destination is the same as ever. And I’m looking forward to the ride.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 11.52.57 PM

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 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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172 Responses to Changes at TCM – What they Mean for Classic Film Fans

  1. Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Will!

  2. I believe that if you offered– the entire TCM collection and vault– through on demand , say a TCM “On Demand library” on DISH, on Direct, Time Warner Cable, Charter,, at a nominal fee to watch any film, say $ 1.00-$2.00 per view, per film, the demand, especially among baby boomers would be continuous and great!
    I am a film and television historian and PhD out of NYU Tisch, and really know film. The market for this is robust. Do some survey market research online among devotees. I believe this suggestion would fly and be very profitable.

    Alphabetical Classic film listings– from 1930 to perhaps 2010 with the greater numbers in the earlier decades, cross classified by year, by director, by actor leads, and by genre would provide ease of access and prove to be very appealing to all of us who are devoted film history devotees! Debra Lauren Schultz@ facebook; and

    If you need remarkably accurate research to guide you and corroborate likely demand numbers, you might contact (800) 224-7608; Or, if you have in-house research staff, they might sample the regular TCM devoted viewership on this. Please preserve and keep available ON TV, the uncut, commercial free, TCM library of classic films of every genre , especially those produced from 1930 to 1999.

    Please note that your BASE is comprised of baby boomers (50-90) who will NOT seek out entertainment via “APPS”. Please keep TCM for our huge and loyal group available on uncut commercial free TV on TCM. Commercials could possibly be placed– only before and after– the complete uninterrupted screening of any film, and could be target marketed to a huge and growing group of loyal seniors. We are among the largest and most robust groups of viewers today!

    For a film history legacy to teach young millennials that “what is past is prologue,” lest they lose the greatness that came before, apps will certainly have “some” interest.

    We love TCM, please do not eviscerate it to appease disinterested youth. The Baby boomers are, have been, and will continue to be, for another 20 years, your base! Hope to see you, Ben Mankewicz, and Robert Osborne on TCM at the Movies on cable and satellite TV!

    Debra Lauren Schultz, PhD.
    @Facebook Sept. 1 2015

    • Jeffrey L Virgin says:

      Speak for yourself, I am 52, and would gladly get a TCM app.

      • editress says:

        ^ This. Thanks for making people aged 50-90 sound like a bunch of recalcitrant, intolerant technophobes, Ms. PhD.

        Goes to show you what education is incapable of doing.

    • Neville Ross says:

      For how long, Debra? When your cohort dies off (it’s doing so now), there’ll be no audience for just films from the 1920’s to the 1970’s left, it’ll Gen-X and the much-despised millennials. The 1980’s is now the past, as will be the 1990’s soon enough, and those movies (along with movies from the 1970’s) are what should be shown more often besides the movies of the ’20’s, ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s.

      • Haveacare says:

        Rude much, Neville? As a Gen-Xer myself, I dislike most movies from the 60s to the present, with only a few exceptions. Please don’t assume that all Xers won’t watch the classics. I used to watch AMC when they only showed classics and stopped when they switched to TCM. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a classic film from before 1960 any day.

  3. Armand Catenaro says:

    No commercials ever ever ever!!! Works for Me!!!!

  4. Personally, I would love it if more people watched TCM! So, if this new campaign means introducing the masses to TCM and its programming, then I’m all for it. The more #oldmovieweirdos, the better 😉

  5. laufvergnügen says:

    I was just thinking of TCM’s future the other day while watching Anatomy of a Murder at the gym — I wondered if there would be enough interested viewers to still support a channel. I’m glad to see they are thinking of and planning for a future with hopefully few changes.

  6. I resisted cutting the cord for months, solely because of TCM, but finally, my cable company treated me so badly I left. I would love to be able to subscribe directly to TCM! (And I told them that when I canceled my Now Playing subscription.)

  7. Superjee says:

    “Let’s movie” is a really dreadful slogan.

    • Sage on the Hudson says:

      Only if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy can you appreciate how TRULY dreadful it is (re Movieprep, the gallons of awful stuff one must drink the night before the procedure).

      • Haveacare says:

        That was so funny I forgot to laugh, Sage, avietar, or whatever name you’re currently using.

    • sonya says:

      yes, lol it is

    • sonya says:

      Yes, lol.

    • Maria says:

      Why don’t they leave TCM the way it started? It was the only channel I used to watch! When Ben started to host everything changed for the worse. Now I check the channel and usually go to another one. I won’t be surprised if the channel is out very soon.

      • evanbedford says:

        I kind of like Ben’s wit. And as long as I get my weekly dose of Kurosawa or Bergman or whatever, I’ll keep watching. TCM and CNN are my favorites.

      • Tom Grein says:

        One reason I watch TCM is for the bright and sharp commentary by Ben Mankiewicz, who grew up in the movies with many in his family as directors and producers. Can’t understand why one would trash Ben. One question to ask Ben: Why do you pull the finger on your right hand at the beginning of each of your segments? Is it a secret code to a secret lover?

      • I’ve met Ben on a number of occasions; he’s a nice guy, and a smart guy, but he’s no real movie expert. The segments he does on TCM are put together by writers (whose credentials as “movie experts” are also somewhat dubious, as these pieces are often rife with errors); yes, Ben probably does have the latitude to amend the copy he’s handed, but that probably extends only to making it friendlier to the mouth that has to speak it (his) and the ears that are going to listen to it (ours).

        This was true of Bob Osborne’s pieces no less than it is of Ben’s.

        The fact is that these segments aren’t intended for people who work in motion pictures, or who know films and film history; they’re written for the casual listener who won’t know if what they’re hearing is actually true and accurate or not. That’s the way all these things work.

      • fantomex9 says:

        For the edification of the eternally clueless, here’s why;

        Why TCM Can’t Show Everything

    • Catherine Livingston & Perry Marlow says:

      Agreed. And going online with the Now Playing magazine is stupid and disappointing. I hate it! I loved my magazine every month.

  8. Maryalyce says:

    Well, I’m an older person (late 50’s) and I don’t really understand streaming or any of the other things you mention, I would in fact not be very happy with any of that, I simply want to turn on my TV set and watch TCM.

    • willmckinley says:

      Well the good news is, you still can! Nothing is really changing on air, at least for the most part.

    • Irving Ben- Goldstein says:

      Then learn how to do so. I did and I am a man of 87. You must not be lazy. And whining is repugnant dear

    • Irving Ben- Goldstein says:

      It’s very clear you have…issues. Perhaps you are part of the conspiracy dear

    • Melonie Lee says:

      I was a hard core TCM fan, but no more! I absolutely hate the movies you are showing now. I am disabled and my TV has never been changed to any other channel bedsides TCM. But now my TV has probably gone into shock because I do not watch TCM much anymore. PLEASE PLEASE PUT THE OLD CLASSICS BACK ON! I really miss the old programming. Every time a new person assumes a top position in a company, there are always changes. But in some cases it is not good, as in this one. You do still have your older viewers you know. The young viewers in general are not interested in TCM when they have all the other channels that are showing basically the same movies. I think you will be sorry eventually for this change.

  9. As Ollie said to Stan in “Babes in Toyland”: “That’s a good idea, but I don’t think it will work.” I’ve known a few young people in my time and they are a stubborn lot, especially when it comes to movies. “Rebranding” and a so-so catchphrase will probably be met with skepticism and guffaws.

    • Pat C says:

      I am afraid I agree with you. Classic Movies, like classical music, jazz, and most of the fine arts, is a niche form of entertainment. Let’s face it, if films like these were still popular, they’d still be made. But the overwhelming majority of people today prefer big computer graphics, lots of explosions and lots of gadgetry. TCM should remember what Aesop once said, he who deserts old friends for new friends will soon find that he has no friends. The under 30 crowd these days is a write off, as far as higher art forms are concerned. Dance with the ones who brung ya, TCM!

    • solerso says:

      And the GAWD AWFUL Bollywood/Gay Nightclub sounding “music” they are using for the promos and montages between features, even the for year end memorial montage for the recently deceased classic movie stars (appalling) really must stop..You aren’t attracting any young people, with that. They come or not for the programming. And what do they mean by “young people” ? ..I’m a lot younger than Cary Grant, for instance (48 yo) and have been converted to TCM in the past 10 years..I came for the movies.

      • fantomex9 says:

        Young people in this instance means those that are at least 18-29 years old (Generation Y and Generation Z.) To be honest, getting them to see older movies is going to be a challenge (especially the above mentioned ones that are of color) due to a lot of the dated elements in many older movies (anything sexist or racist might be a turn-off to them.)

  10. James Harris says:

    Unfortunately Time Warner Cable Manhattan won’t allow its subscribers to use Watch TCM. I keep checking my Ipad to see if it will ever join the dozens of ther cable providers that will. It’s amazing to live in the center of the media center of America and be disadvantaged in this way.

  11. Randi Lustig says:

    I enjoyed ur “Let’s Movie” post. It’s sort of going forward but going backwards @ the same time! & business is business. I’m curious to why TCM hardly plays Betty Grable movies, they r SO WELL DONE!!! & I never have seen any “Blondie” movies w Penny Singelton, ect. They are quite enjoyable!! I’m glad to see thst the station has been showing more Dead End kids movies. Again, thnx for ur postings:)

    • Irving Ben- Goldstein says:

      The reason they don’t play Grable films is because she was under contract to 20th Century Fox and Turner doesn’t own that library. Fox does. Her films are regularly shown on Fox Movie Channel

      • Hmm…Not really. I look at the scheduling of FMC every week and rarely see films from before 1950. The few they do show from before then are usually the same ones recycled over and over again… I have even sent the channel messages asking them to start showing more of their early films.
        Also, FMC has changed over the past few years and now shows more modern films (from 2000 and up with commercials) for about 12 hrs a day. They also no longer show any films in their original format (ie: widescreen). They show the opening titles in widescreen, but then show the cut down version of the film.

  12. Pingback: TCM makes a change: Thoughts on ‘Let’s Movie’ – Movie Mania Madness

  13. Archie Lee says:

    Why is the movie lineup on TCM Asia so limited?

  14. Irving Ben- Goldstein says:

    I just would like to know if this Dorian lady who is trying to destroy classic films is related to Bob Dorian, the past host of the disgraced AMC? I smell a conspiracy here

  15. John Hostler says:

    I love the old movies. Everything needs tradition. TCM gives the people that tradition. Without tradition, you are nothing. Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Maureen O’Hara, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck etc, they are a big part of that tradition. So give me all the tradition you can

  16. Mark Forer says:

    Congrats! TCM has ripped-off the AT&T “Re-Branding” of DirecTV wholesale. Both are Corporate, both are dull, and both are forgettable.

  17. Felix says:

    They can do all the marketing they want but Watch TCM not being available to Time Warner Cable customers cuts out New York City which is just stupid. That’s cutting out over 8 million people and what kind of business model is that? Some obscure cable company in Boondocksville, Kansas gets Watch TCM but not Time Warner Cable in NYC??? Can anyone explain that?

  18. I have been disappointed in the past few years on how many of the old horror classics are being shown on TV please make October for Halloween again thnx.

  19. joelnox says:

    They couldn’t come up with something better then “Let’s Movie”? It’s dumb and corny. I don’t mind the channel broadening what they show as long as it stays commercial free and varied. It’s nice to catch something along the lines of Apollo 13 on there sometimes, it is a modern classic. But I also want to see Her Cardboard Lover, The Velvet Touch, The Tin Drum or some other obscurity scheduled. Classic film of any stripe is a niche market so no matter what they do there’ll never be a stampede to the network so they need to keep in mind what the faithful look for. They do well with their special programming, Star of the Month, Silent Sunday Night, The Essentials etc. so lets hope they don’t screw around with that aspect.

  20. TCM is referred to in the article as a “commercial-free basic cable movie network”. In WA state, Comcast does not come close to offering this station in their basic cable package. You have to be paying through the nose in order get TCM.

    • Cladrite says:

      It’s not basic cable with Time Warner Cable in NYC, either, and we don’t even get access to WatchTCM.

      As for showing movies from the 1980s, ’90s and later, those films films are — and have been all along — readily available on other cable channels, video and now streaming. I’m all for marketing to a younger crowd, but sell them on what you do well. Don’t dilute your current product, thereby angering your current viewers in service of a younger audience that, truth be told, is going to be hard to convince to tune in.

      And the slogan is, to put it bluntly, awful. Really awful. And I’m pretty sure most 20-sometimes would agree with me on that.

      TCM’s been smart in associating itself with some performers who appeal to a young(ish) crowd — Drew Barrymore, Bill Hader, among others. I could get behind going forward (and farther) with that approach, but not with changing the program to include movies that have long been available for viewing on other cable, video and online outlets.

      • Michael says:

        “As for showing movies from the 1980s, ’90s and later, those films films are — and have been all along — readily available on other cable channels, video and now streaming. I’m all for marketing to a younger crowd, but sell them on what you do well. Don’t dilute your current product, thereby angering your current viewers in service of a younger audience that, truth be told, is going to be hard to convince to tune in.

        “And the slogan is, to put it bluntly, awful. Really awful. And I’m pretty sure most 20-sometimes would agree with me on that.”

        Perfectly said. Best comment on this thread.

    • Deal says:

      In Florida, same here, TCM is not a basic channel. A basic package channel with commercial-free quality programming that isn’t PBS? Too much to ask of Komcast I guess.

  21. Patrick says:

    As long as ALL of our classic films still get airtime (silents and onward) and we have the channel, I’m all for more viewers coming aboard. I always put the TV on TCM and watch it while I fall asleep. Love my black & white movies!

  22. JOAN DAVIS says:

    Of course, to me, any movie made in the 90s is not a classic. But as long as some of the really old ones are still played, I will be happy. My favorites are 40s and 50s B&W movies. I like the old
    science fiction flying saucer movies……and monster movies….they are now funny and entertaining. I just don’t want to constantly see 80/90s movies…..but that is just me…..I don’t want to loose the
    really old classics. They are not shown anyplace else with out commercials……I dvr them and watch them over as many times as I choose. Please don’t change too much.

  23. JOAN DAVIS says:

    I meant LOSE THE REALLY OLD CLASSICS…….my fingers slipped…….

  24. Thanks very much, Will. I look forward to the day when I can subscribe ONLY to TCM through my cable provider!

  25. Great story. Im not looking forward to changes as I love tcm just how it is.
    But i must admit I saw a Public Morals commercial 2 weeks ago. The beginning of the end I tell ya!

  26. Jason says:

    And for those who still want Friday the 13th Part 5 with commercials, there’s American Movie Classics.

  27. Mitch Farish says:

    As long as the inclusion of newer movies doesn’t curtail the airing of older movies, either through streaming or via cable, I will be satisfied. More freedom for less money is a good thing, and hopefully there will be more (not fewer) of the older, less commercial movies available, like silent films. Please, Oh please, included more silents.

  28. Martha says:

    Is this Jennifer Dorian Bob Dorian’s daughter? He was the original host of Turner movies before Robert Osborne. I have been VERY disappointed at some of Turner’s movies in the past year or less. If people want to watch crap, there are plenty of channels out there with crap on them. I feel that Turner should NOT show movies with nudity and/or F-words at any time of the day. I frequently watch movies in the early morning hours, and I personally am not “old enough” to see or hear that crap! I say they need to stay with classics that are no more than a PG-13 rating at any time, and sometimes that pushes it, if they are going to show newer stuff, but my personal opinion is that I really do not want to see the newer stuff. They are wasting precious airtime with junk movies when they could be showing the older classics. Thank you for reading this!

    • Sage on the Hudson says:

      No, Martha, Bob Dorian was NEVER associated with TCM (Bob Osbprne’s been with tem since the channel’s inception); Dorian was the host — and a dreadful one, at that — on American Movie Classics when that channel was still worth watching…which was a long, long time ago.

      Bob Dorian was succeeded by radio host Gene Klavan, and then by George Clooney’s Dad, former newscaster Nick Clooney.

      Got it?

      • Steve Wells says:

        Bob Dorian was a very good host of AMC (before it turned into commercial filled crap). He provided the same level of detail (and often different relevant details) comparable to the introductions and summaries that Robert Osborne provides. For example, for The Private Life of Henry VIII, Bob Dorian provided interesting details including about how the director’s brother rebuilt new sets from the previously used ones to keep the construction materials cost at $400 for the whole film.

      • Sgt Waggoner says:

        Bob Dorian was my favorite AMC host — I agree Mr Wells — Robert Osborne’s class of comfort and knowledge — Nick Clooney was terrible — I always hoped TCM would bring Bob Dorian over to share hostings with Robert —

      • Sage on the Hudson says:

        Bob Dorian was a nitwit. Knew NOTHING about film. Nothing. All he did was recite the inaccurate and inane copy he was handed.

        Of course, the people on TCM, and that includes Bob Osborne, aren’t much better. I’d like to see just one host on broadcasts like these who knows something, anything, about movies.

  29. SteveShay says:

    I love the program, but the slogan reminds me of:

  30. suzanl says:

    Grateful to Dorian for taking a perfectly good noun, “movie,” and making it a verb. Thanks a bunch.

  31. Michael Carlin says:

    Why has TCM stopped having film marathons to celebrate the birthdays of certain stars of yesteryear? There was NO movie marathon on Judy Garland’s birthday this past June! How does TCM expect the younger generations to get to know the film work of such great talents if the network really wants to expand its audience?

  32. Jerry Oddo says:

    Do what you have to do but DON’T CHANGE A THING !

  33. Stefanie says:

    I would be all over a video on demand subscription service run by TCM! While I like Netflix, I was never satisfied with their selection of older movies. I would have a movie that I would want to show friends or family and they wouldn’t have it. Amazon’s streaming service seems to be better in that regard.

  34. TOM says:

    The ONLY reason that I subscribe to cable is to get that channel!
    If it turns into a 2nd rate AMC channel (with ‘hits’ only), I will cancel my subscription – ditto to the TCM ‘Now Playing’ magazine.

  35. Deal says:

    Classic film is one of those things that people are drawn to, or they aren’t. Those who are, require no promotional welcome mat to have their awareness raised, they will find the promised land like a bird to water. In that sense, I think almost anyone who would ever care for TCM’s programming is already well aware of the network… But perhaps there are indeed some people out there, kids perhaps, who have yet to fall in love with classic cinema. I hope the new campaign serves them in doing so… But I hope to never see TCM go loud and trendy. It’s one of the few bastions of good taste on television, that doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence, or attention span.

  36. Lynn says:

    Let’s Movie…very uncreative slogan lol. Thanks for the update Mr. Will!

  37. Pingback: TCM Dives into Streaming with Amazon | cinematically insane

  38. Dilo says:

    So what does that mean, that to avoid traditional advertising and commercial options as on other channels, TCM needs to “diversify” and expand the definition of “classic” films to include crap, trash and more B- and C-movie options? In other words, the kinds of viewers who buy, sell and spend revenue on things aren’t ones who watch or like the types of films archive that TCM has always shown all these years? Argh.

  39. Damon Devine says:

    TCM is rapi9dly changing to appease retarded millennials like EVERYTHING, everywhere, now. Very sad. Change the idea of “classic” to please THEM? Uh…NO. Right now, some cheap low budget 80’s film is on. Filthiest language on earth (and I’m no prude and FROM the 80’s punk generation!) and cringe at the idea senior citizens may be seeing this is some rest home. We need to boycott the new dame.

  40. Mary says:

    I agree with many comments. You are either drawn to this niche or you are not. I have noticed the changes in TCM and have virtually stopped watching the channel. I even skipped the Stewart Granger marathon last month, quite something for me. My 17 year old and his friends think “Let’s Movie!” is an awful attempt by the elderly (their word) to be modern. I agree with them. BTW, I cannot stand Ben Mankiewicz — too smug, too scripted.

  41. Sage on the Hudson says:

    “TCM lost approximately 15 staffers to layoffs and buyouts – far fewer than other Turner networks, but still a tragedy…”

    No, the recent Paris massacre is a tragedy, this is merely regrettable (a bit given to hyperbole, are you, Mr McKinley?) though perhaps the most unfortunate thing is that TCM didn’t clean house of its know-nothing programmers.

    Granted that it’s easy to spend other people’s money, but the solution to the old movie/new movie bifurcation within TCM viewers’ ranks is to START A SECOND CHANNEL. Also granted that the economics vary from cable channel to cable channel, but many, if not most have gone that way over the years: HBO, Showtime, Epix, Encore, etc.. One channel devoted exclusively to older films, another to newer will, in fact, serve to please everybody (though, yes, there would then be a far greater need for original programming which, as we know, cost a significant commitment, which means, of course, hiring more people after a group were just let go.

    But it’s not just the “definition of a classic” that’s “evolving,” it’s the audience and the economics. The market and cable line-up’s long overdue for TCM 2, folks.

  42. Mike Hulse says:

    It’s pretty obvious. The hand is writing on the wall. Goodby TCM. So sad.

  43. Jeff says:

    Used to see 5 or so movies a week on TCM that I wanted to make sure I caught. Now I’m lucky if there is 1. Whoever makes the call on programming now is losing me.

    • JT says:

      Me too! I’ve started reading & listening to more books. Very upset about the new lack in programming of the classic films.


  45. TERESA Bazyk says:

    I have Showtime,HBO & tons of other channels on COMCAST. I still watch TVMTCM quite a bit. Nobody shows all the movies you do. Just watched “Secret Garden”, “Wizard of Oz” up next. Winter’s back, time for popcorn & TCM movies!!!

  46. Pingback: TCM + Criterion Partner for FilmStruck Streaming Service | cinematically insane

  47. R says:

    Hope TCM doesn’t change too
    much. Haven’t the newer films -those from the 80s and 90s – already been on other cable stations repeatedly? Watch out that you don’t lose longtime watchers in your quest for new ones.

  48. Tewonie Riley says:

    I would greatly like someone from TCM to contact me. I have such a grand idea for TCM and I do believe in classic movies; they are so unique in a way that should never be pushed aside. I am 37 years old and I love TCM

    • Evan Bedford says:

      Have you tried to contact them? (Hit the “contact” icon at the bottom of their web page.)

      • Haveacare says:

        I doubt they’d care what us “old folks” think. I’m Gen-X but also in my 50s (born in 1965, AFTER the boom). and probably considered old by other posters here. As I’ve said, I am one X-er who is NOT a fan of most post-1960 films so to see TCM air more of them to attract younger viewers is a shame. Why not let them see more of the classics, so they can come to appreciate them too? TCM helped me to do that.

  49. joanne says:

    Been watching TCM for many years and love the channel. But wish they would not keep repeating the same films from month to month. There are so many movies that must be in their library that are not being shown. Some classic ones have only been aired once and never again.

  50. G Thompson says:

    This scares me very deeply! I love the film noir, the 50’s sci fi, and I always cry during the “TCM REMEMBERS” segments. i hope I don’t have to have my TCM tattoo removed!

  51. G Thompson says:

    But I will the first time I see John Travolta or Nicholas Cage on my beloved TCM. I can’t imagine Saturday afternoons without Ben and his acerbic wit and insider cool! Oh by the way “Let’s Movie” does suck!

  52. G Thompson says:

    One more quick observation and I promise I will not Inflict myself upon you any further….How could we ever forget Kim Punk Rock?

  53. Jonathan Porter says:

    Can TCM please format the movies in order to
    Eliminate the annoying side bars? Other than that I love the station I watch it more than any other channel.
    Have a great ☀day.

    • avietar says:

      “Annoying side bars?” It seems you don’t understand pillarboxing, which is the only way to show standard-ratio 1.33:1 and 1.37:1 films on a modern 16×9 display without blowing them up and cutting off the top and bottom of the frame.

    • Steve Wells says:

      “Annoying side bars”?
      Have you not seen the many TCM (re)showings with Sydney Pollack and others explaining the top and bottom bars of letterbox presentations. Those explain how the the original frame of the movie does not fill the particular rectangle of older TVs because they have different aspect ratios. Rather than squeeze or stretch the content, they show the entire frame with top and bottom bars to fill the TV’s rectangle,
      The same applies to pillar box bars, when a 4×3 film must fit entirely within a wide screen rectangle. Your TV should have adjustments to either stretch the content wide, in case you like to see oval tires on cars and actors with fatter than usual faces, or to trim off (throw away) the top and bottom of the film if that is your preference, rather than having blank bars fill the empty part of your TV’s rectangle.
      Or perhaps you should get into your time machine and go back to tell Thomas Edison that when his assistant, W.K.L. Dickson, suggests using film stock that is “An inch by ¾” for his moving picture shooting, he should use a wider aspect ratio to fill a wide screen of the future, like Abel Ganz did with wide aspect ratio content in of his 1927 film, Napoleon.
      So if you don’t like that TCM shows the entire frame of a film, be it standard screen or wide screen, complain to yourself for not adjusting your own TV, not try to get TCM to ruin the presentation for everyone who wants to watch the entire film.

  54. Evan Bedford says:

    Has anyone else noticed a disturbing trend of movie substitutions? (Seems to have occurred just in the last year or so). For example, a few weeks ago, I was eagerly waiting to watch Brighton Rock with Richard Attenborough, but then had to instead watch The System with Oliver Reed. This was certainly not an isolated incident, and it seems to be happening more and more. Just in the last week, two of the four movies that I was hoping to see got replaced with lesser items.

    • fantomex9 says:

      Said substitutions are (probably) due to rights issues (for example, a movie that could be shown on the American feed of TCM can’t be shown on the Canadian feed due to the rights being different for that movie in Canada.)

  55. Cherie says:

    No commercials at all!!!!!!!!! You have put wine adds that most
    of us could not ever afford.
    I also do not feel that anything newer than 1980 is classic tv.
    There are two or three reasons I watch TCM no
    commercials except the movies
    that are being sold or playing in the near future.
    The next reason is the variety of movies in archives
    dating back to before the nineteen thirties. These are are art
    I would not have ever seen them if it weren’t for TCM. FYI I’m 55 yrs old.
    The movies from the 80s till now are just too graphic in violence.
    Also with the limits on how much internet you use in the country life is only 15 or 20 gigs a month, a lot of us can not afford 16 hours of streaming a day 7 days a week.
    Thank you TCM for the last 20 yrs or so for wonderful movies.
    I hope you will take time to research how to stay true to your fans
    who have been with you from the start.
    Don’t you make enough money now with the rest of
    your stations , and company to leave this station alone?

  56. Greg Morton Motion Picture Industry retiree of over 30 years says:

    Am I the only one that is unhappy with the changes at TCM? TCM has changed the originality of the films it had televised for over 25 years. Now they are televising in zoomed in HD format that is grainy and blurry with heads and side frames cut off. What happened to showing films in the way they were intended to be shown. I remember when TCM had Sidney Pollack describing how “Pan and Scan” was an insult to the original film and how it scammed the audience out of what was intended by the producers and the cast at the time of the film’s original release in Anamorphic widescreen. Is this what the new leadership at TCM thinks needs to be done to increase profits? What they are doing now is literally taking away the clarity of 35mm and bringing back the blur of Old, “square” TV format is 4:3 ratio. PLEASE STOP THIS PRACTICE and go back to what made TCM the wonderful original classic movie channel IT WAS. That would be sharp full picture Panavision screen as it was originally intended. Mark my words if this practice is continues, TCM will lose more than just a few viewers.

    • avietar says:

      TCM can only show what distributors send them, and often those distributors either don’t know that what they’ve sent isn’t the film in its original form, they don’t care, or a proper transfer of the film in its original frmate, and from the best elements, was never made.

      I certainly have my own bone to pick with TCM, but it’s over their programmers’ apparent ignorance of the contents of many of the film packages to which they have access, and willingness to show the same tired war-horse titles endlessly. When it comes to the physical quality of the films, themselves, TCM is rarely, if ever, to blame.

  57. Yvette says:

    Why isn’t George Clooney’ S dad no longer on TCM

  58. I’m astounded at how flat and dull the programming is now.
    Middle on the road vanilla at best.The homogenization to my mind must be the result of many films being bought up by a variety of companies that refuse to lease them.
    i can’t believe that in contrast to the university of film that this network used to be that its handlers would opt for such bloodless,superficial programming.
    Further,in a time where the American middle and working class has been returned to the depression era status that most of these twentieth century films were informed by,the elitist wine commercials and cruise ads are a slap in the face to many millions of people who were once simpatico with the directors,writers and actors of the classic era.
    The new face of Turner classics as represented by the wooden mannequins that now read from the teleprompter to us is completely unconvincing.
    This is corporatism at its worst and yet another defeat for film arts in the twenty first century.
    I’m a former employee at San Francisco’s Castro theatre movie palace and a professional writer.
    For years I watched this network for days at a time as I worked.
    Nothing good lasts forever.
    Thank you Robert Osborn and thanks to all of the people who were responsible for making TCM the wonder that it once was.

  59. Nevada mason says:

    I do Not like these 70’s movies barging in on my classic movies. That’s why I watch TCM!!!!!Booo. I want Osborn back . Who picks these silly movies anyway?

  60. Rebecca Buchanan says:

    HELLO!!! I grew up on Movies!! TCM was my favorite movie channel… But the last year I have hardly watched!! The movies are dated!!! I was born in 1952!! Example: I’m not a silent film fan!! I’m at the point of dropping my cable and watch my own selection of movies!! Very disappointed in TCM!! For that matter my complete family is very disappointed!! And where is Robert Osborne???

  61. Sgt Robert Waggoner says:

    Bob Dorian was my favorite AMC host — I agree with Mr Wells — Robert Osborne’s class of comfort and knowledge — Nick Clooney was terrible — I always hoped TCM would bring Bob Dorian over to share hostings with Robert — I know much time has passed since AMC was my go to classics cihannel From 1985-1999 – but then they got rid of Bob Dorian -HUGE MISTAKE- then all hosts HUGER MISTAKE — and today except for 2am airings of the 3-Stooges — They suck really bad — I am 54 yrs old and a huge TCM fan since 1995 — They can show crappy 80s and 90s films but please do it at 5am but keep BOGIE-CAGNEY-MARX BROS- Bob Hope and The Duke on prime time —

  62. karen says:

    Here’s what’s on tonight on TCM…To Tell The Truth: Working For Change, America Today, The Plow That Broke the Plains. Really? What on earth is TCM trying to do?….Going from first class to no class? Let me know.

  63. You should leave politics out of your talking with your guests. TCM was always a great way to watch older movies. If this keeps happening I will no longer be a supporter of TCM

  64. nick smith says:

    I’ve been watching for about 5 years since we got TCM and I’m irritated because they keep showing the same 30 films over and over and over, often within the same 2 weeks!.They must have more films to show because they used to have a trailer section on the website with hundreds of films in their library..I agree with Joanne’s comment from above!.

  65. Patti says:

    What happened to the stars and popcorn ratings on the description of the movie

  66. David Linton says:

    The change is obviously for a new generation.
    I havn’t seen any black and whites in months.
    I used to watch them from 10pm .
    The format has differently changed and most of movies are terrible.I hardly watch the channel anymore after years of enjoying the silver screen.Bring back Robert!

    • Sonya Morrell says:

      I agree. I don’t pay for this tcm any longer. For 15 years or more tcm was a favourite…. Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis just to name a few
      They were all good old classic films worth watching…. Now it’ all rubbish. Miss it as it once was. Cannot be called classic movie channel any longer.

      • evanbedford says:

        What are you talking about? Maltese Falcon and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (etc, etc) are on again this week. Are you sure you’re not tuned to Showcase or Netflix or something?

      • Sonya Morrell says:

        Oh, really. Well I live in Europe…had subscribed to tcm for 15 years and over the last few years some more modern films were swapped for films from no later than the 40s. Then in October 2016 all films were only 1980s and up so I stopped paying for that. So now you say that you saw some older films then I see it must have to do with my tv company on Sweden. If so then why is it still called Turner classic movies.Can anyone fill me in on that.

      • evanbedford says:

        You should talk to your cable company. As I type this, TCM in Alberta, Canada has Harvey (James Stewart) on. After that, it’s To Be or Not To Be (Jack Benny), and Rollerball (James Caan).

  67. Giovanni says:

    I’m 27 years old and I love TCM the way it is. My only complaint is to stop showing reruns. Give North by northwest a break !
    TCM is the only reason i still have cable. Been watching tcm since 2004. Ive seen lots of changes. I’LL CUT OFF MY CABLE IF TCM STARTS ADS. I saw AMC turn to crud. I’d hate the same happen to TCM. NO ADVERTIZING ! NEVER !! and another thing. SHOW THE MOVIES IN THEIR CORRECT RATIOS !

    • evanbedford says:

      Yeah, North by North-west has perhaps been on a few too many times. And I’m still waiting for TCM to re-broadcast Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible (it was on several years ago, and I’ve been hoping for them to air it again). But on the positive side, November’s emphasis on documentaries was phenomenal. So I guess we have to take the good with the bad.

  68. Malcolm says:

    What happened to the Programming at TCM?

    Currently I’m watching “Grey Mansions” – this is at least the 2nd time in 2 weeks – once every several years is enough.

    Classic movies for children on at 1:30 am Pacific time – what’s with that? I’m an adult and young children have long turned in at this time.

    Friday and Saturday evenings junk one and two star non-classic movies – not even cult pictures.

    Day after Christmas – a series of less than B horror movies.

    What’s going on? I’m not watching.

    • Tom Grein says:

      Record them. I have Charter and use their DVD. I can record around 60-80 movies (depends on length and B&W or color) and then watch them when I want. Noir Alley is a good example: 10 a.m. Sunday mornings not my time to watch movies, but I record them and watch them later. Easy Peasy!

      • Sonya Morrell says:

        I wish I had done that.I miss all the old movies. They changed it in Europe. All gone.

  69. jen says:

    I just watched TCM thrust a gay film on unsuspecting viewers that just want to watch a great classic movie without seeing a man dressed in drag and posing like he is pregnant! What happened here? This bothered so much that my heart cried. If people want to be lgbtq, let them, but leave the rest of us alone to just escape the horrors of real life in a well acted and written movie. There is still innocent love in the world, The Miracle Worker was awesome but the porno afterwards just killed it. So disappointed.

  70. Ken says:

    As long as they keep TCM commercial free, I will watch anything it offers.

    • evanbedford says:

      Me too. I hear a lot of whining on this thread, but I haven’t noticed any huge changes in the last decade. Now, if they could only re-broadcast Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible….

  71. Bob says:

    I have no problem with including newer (1970’s) or newer movies but I just watched The Three Musketeers (1974). It was NOT letterboxed. Ive noticed more of that. Why? You used to do ads all the time extolling the virtues ofether box versus pan ‘n scan. Why?

  72. Felicia Taylor says:

    It would be great if TCM Could do a Dead End Kids Movie Marathon On Thanksgiving or Christmas or even New Year’s Eve or any other Holidays because I just love them so much they make me laugh and smile all the time.

    • Felicia Taylor says:

      It would be great if TCM Could do a Dead End Kids Movie Marathon On Thanksgiving or Christmas or even New Year’s Eve or any other Holidays because I just love them so much they make me laugh and smile all the time.

  73. Elaine Siegel says:

    Your movies are great but why do you have a loud mouth

    e host Alex Baldwin. There are so many more you could have chosen buto to choose him is really in poor taste

  74. Tom Grein says:

    One reason I watch TCM is for the bright and sharp commentary by Ben Mankiewicz, who grew up in the movies with many in his family as directors and producers. Can’t understand why one would trash Ben. One question to ask Ben: Why do you pull the finger on your right hand at the beginning of each of your segments? Is it a secret code to a secret lover! One more thing: I’m totally bummed TCM is getting rid of the print edition of Now Playing. I loved it, read it, saved it, and used it constantly. I’m sure the email edition will work, but I’ll miss the print edition.

  75. Gary A. Ludwick says:

    TCM has not choice if it wants to survive, and yes, make some money, other than providing an avenue for cable cutters to access their channel. The trend is real, it is growing and is, in fact, snowballing. TCM needs to be a part of more than just sling – I’m amazed they haven’t set up their own channel on Roku and charged a reasonable monthly subscription fee. I’d be first in line.
    I just got notice that their fine arts film channel with Criterion is now available on Roku. Time for TCM to do the same!

  76. I watch TCM for the most part, for the Classic Movies from the 20s to the 60s; a little of the 70s and maybe a soft touch of the 80s, i.e. The Blues Brothers, Superman The Movie, The Shining, Raiders of the Lost Ark etc. If I had to choose between watching just one Film Noir movie like Thieves Highway with Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb over all the hits from the 70s and 80’s including the ones I named above I would choose “…Highway” every time.

  77. Nan Thomas says:

    Don’t know who is in charge of programming but it needs to brough up to @least the 1940’s please – all the silent movies are way too much not interesting @all & most of the 1930’s also. Realize I am only giving MY opionion, but it should count for something. We really do enjoy most all films made in 1940’s-1950’s, please show the silent films & 1930’s after 10-11pm, thanks for listening to my “tirade”.

  78. Marjorie Wallace says:

    Who are KL Studio Classics? Has TCM sold out to them ?

  79. I.have watch T C M since it went on the air and I hate what is happening ! I guess you could call me a purist but I am also a collector of vintage films at last count I have 3000 films my love for the history of movie is a thing I truly love and I know CNN bought TCM and are too busy selling wine to let you enjoyovies Clara Caudill

    • evanbedford says:

      I LOVE what’s happening! (uh…what’s happening?).
      Just kidding. I haven’t bought any of their wine or gone on any of their cruises, but I still watch TCM just like I always have. And Ben is the greatest! Keep it up, folks! You help to keep me sane!

      • Bob Dottery says:

        I wish you’d go back to your letterboxing. Lately I’ve seen “pan&scan” versions of films such as last night’s Woodsstock; the Director’s cut. It was so painful I turned it off.

  80. Gregg says:

    It’s time to close the doors on TCM. The constant repetition of the well known classics and digging into the pits and broadcasting the TRASH movie Shaft was the last straw. Not exactly last straw it’s the commentators who have very little knowledge of the classic movie era with the exception of Ben Mankiewicz who is well versed in classics. This latest gentleman doesnt have a clue. So it’s been enjoyable viewing excellent films but as they say all things must come to an end someday and this day for tcm and myself has come…..

    • Bob Dottery says:

      I wish you would broadcast letterbox ed versions like you used to. I’m loving the Tarzan series. I would love more b of the super hero serials from the 1940s.

  81. Susan Murray says:

    I’m sorry to see all the changes at TCM. I’m 70 yrs old and cannot get the hang of all these electronic gadgets no matter how i try. So for people my age it’s not good. I love the 30’s and 40’s in black and white period. With life changing at such a rapid pace, TCM was the one thing I could count on but that’s gone now too. Streaming is great if your 30 and know how to do it, but then again if your 30 your not interested in black and white movies. Makes me very sad and disappointed.

  82. Penny says:

    TCM used to be my favorite channel. USED TO BE. Since Robert Osborne has been gone, the movie selections have been absolutely terrible! Way too many silent movies, early 30’s and musicals. I don’t know anyone who watches these. Why not show these overnight instead of all day? Where are the great classics of the 40’s & 50’s?? Movies that appeal to women, since they are the majority at home during the day.

    TCM was the first channel I went to every day, but the programming has gotten so bad that I rarely watch TCM now. Some people may be right . . . maybe TCM is on its way out.

  83. Jane Dreher Emerson says:

    What happened in the last few weeks? I can’t get a schedule beyond one movie and I csn’t See who the cast is. You have killed TCM.

  84. Patricia Greene says:

    In the past you have had many of Betty Gable’s movies why did you stop showing them? I’m very disappointed.

  85. Kathryn Berry says:

    I miss the movies from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Lately there have been so many 1960’s and 1970’s movies I can’t even watch. What happened to Errol Flynn, Greer Garson, Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, etc.? I could go on but you get the picture. TCM use to be my favorite channel but not anymore. So sad.

  86. Judy B Stith says:

    TCM and PBS, in my estimation, are the absolute, most wonderful stations ever to grace television. Some of the movies take me back to a simpler time. I find myself walking down streets still there, yet nostagically unchanged by time. It is a safe place to escape from the cacophony of violent sounds and many other violent assaults permeating our senses. Both stations bring beauty, true entertainment, information, music, dancing and a plethora of subjects that lead us to explore many delightful offshoots of the above mentioned. There are no limitations except the ones we impose on ourselves.

  87. Mary Tschida says:

    And what we feared has happened. TCM is going the way of TBS & other channels this Dorian has been at the helm with. It is nothing like when Robert Osbourne was hosting. It repeats the same movies over & over again & the majority aren’t even good movies! Awful! Get rid of her she’s aeful!

  88. Linda Gentry says:

    You used to play a wide variety of older movies but if late you show the same old movies over and over and your selection has narrowed considerably. We are seriously thinking of cancelling our subscription. I loved watching the wide variety you used to show. Now? Not so much!! My gosh! There’s all kinds of movies from the 40’s thru 70’s!! Please show them!!

  89. Ymort says:

    Show the original film Rebecca and Rachel and the stranger pleassssse

  90. Ymort says:

    Show the original film Rebecca and Rachel and the stranger pleassssse

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