The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 November 2005

Great moments in TBS history

Milestones at R. E. "Ted" Turner's original flagship property:

January 1970: Turner buys struggling WJRJ-TV, channel 17, in Atlanta, and renames it WTCG-TV.

December 1976: Claiming the name "Superstation," WTCG begins delivering its signal via satellite to cable systems.

May 1977: Having purchased the Atlanta Braves baseball club, Turner declares himself manager. He is replaced after one game, the team's 17th consecutive loss. In another Braves-related matter, Andy Messerschmidt is assigned #17, and instead of his name or nickname across his shoulder blades, he wears the word CHANNEL, a plug for WTCG. The Commissioner of Major League Baseball is not amused.

June 1979: Turner sacks popular news dude Bill Tush because his flippancy might reflect poorly on Turner Broadcasting's newest venture, a 24-hour news channel.

November 1979: Turner acquires the WTBS call by donating $25,000 worth of equipment to its owner, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (The MIT station became WMBR.)

September 1996: Debut of Dinner and a Movie, a Friday-night series which combines feature films and food.

June 1999: TBS (no longer using the W except on its Atlanta broadcast signal) debuts The Chimp Channel. No effect on CNN is noticed.

November 2005: TBS (now advertising itself as "very funny") introduces a "very funny" Texas Holdem poker game for its Web site, created by the reasonably jocular Sean Gleeson.

Posted at 6:25 AM to Overmodulation


Somewhere between those last two, their tagline was "We know drama."

With Ted as its owner? Who'da thunk?

Posted by: McGehee at 12:20 PM on 3 November 2005

Lately, it's Turner's TNT network which claims to know drama.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:01 PM on 3 November 2005

Didn't TBS also run Night Tracks in the pre-MTV days? Or am I thinking of another cable "superstation"?

Posted by: Eric at 1:42 PM on 3 November 2005

You sure did your homework there! Thanks for the link!

By the bye, TBS and TNT and CNN and Cartoon Network are all part of Turner Broadcasting System, but Ted Turner himself hasn't had a hand in it for years. He sold the whole shebang to Time Warner in 2001, but stayed on in some official salaried capacity until 2003, when they cut the cord.

Now, Ted's main business enterprise is a restaurant, "Ted's Montana Grill."

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 3:45 PM on 3 November 2005

I thought he lived in New Mexico. (Then again, that's not a factor; consider Sophabella's Chicago Grill on North May in Oklahoma City.)

Now that I think about it, TBS did run Night Tracks.

Posted by: CGHill at 3:56 PM on 3 November 2005

Lately, it's Turner's TNT network which claims to know drama.

Dang, I forgot he had another channel. You're right, that's the one.

But my "who'da thunk?" still applies, even if he ain't there no more as Sean says (and the Braves are still part of his portfolio, along with the overpriced restaurant). After all, the author of "Mommie Dearest" was still feeling the after-effects of having Joan Crawford for a mother...

Posted by: McGehee at 6:52 PM on 3 November 2005