Creator / TNT

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TNT (Turner Network Television) is a US cable television network, owned by Turner Broadcasting (and in turn, TimeWarner) since it started broadcasting on October 3, 1988note ; it's the fifth cable network launched by Ted Turner (counting his short-lived MTV competitor Cable Music Channel, which only operated for a few months in 1984). The network originated from a variety of ideas and ventures. For starters, prior to the network's launch, the name had been utilized by Turner as the name for sporting events they syndicated to local television stations (including Turner's own Goodwill Games).

In 1985, Turner attempted to acquire CBS, but failed, leaving him wanting a showcase for his in-house productions. But the biggest catalyst for TNT's launch was his then-biggest acquisition: back in 1986, Turner had acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for 74 days, but sold it back. He did however keep MGM's massive library of films, cartoons and TV shows (some of which were previously owned by Warner Bros., RKO Radio Pictures, United Artists and Paramount). SuperStation TBS (as it was known at the time) obviously didn't have room for all this archive stuff.

TNT therefore served not only as a showcase for Turner-produced original programming like documentaries, but also one for the massive catalog of older films and TV series. Also included were blocks of cartoons (MGM, WB and Paramount cartoons he owned), non-Turner reruns such as The Muppet Show, and expanded sports coverage compared to TBS (which over the years has included NBA, NFL, NASCAR, college sports, PGA golf, and most recently the UFEA Champions League; during the 1990s, they also shared coverage of the Olympic Games with- ironically- CBS).

One point of controversy, however, was Turner's bad habit of colorizing black-and-white movies, which was in full force when TNT launched. This provoked an outcry from the film community; Turner eventually quit colorizing things (not only due to public reactions, but also due to high costs), and he later founded Turner Classic Movies in 1994 to showcase the massive catalog of stuff he held, unedited, un-colorized and commercial free. As a result of TCM's founding, TNT gradually began to add newer reruns and more original productions (including Babylon 5 after the PTEN "network" folded; they also had the B5 spinoff Crusade, but it suffered from Executive Meddling to the extreme), and began to resemble the USA Network (aimed primarily at men, occasional original programming and wrestling).

Both it and TBS eliminated children's programming (which by this point now included Hanna-Barbera reruns {Turner having bought H-B in 1991}, post-1948 Warner Bros. cartoons {after the Turner-Time Warner merger in 1996}, and Garfield and Friends) in 1998 as a result of the more widespread availability of sibling Cartoon Network (which had launched in 1992). Of course, World Championship Wrestling was a major component of TNT during the 1990s, with the flagship WCW series, WCW Monday Nitro debuting in 1995, continuing until WCW was shut down and sold in 2001. Also in play was MonsterVision, a late-night movie block that began in 1991; 1997 saw Joe Bob Briggs, previously a host on The Movie Channel, take over the block (and frequently engage in Biting-the-Hand Humor concerning TNT's censorship policies- this culminated in implying Ted Turner himself was out to kill Joe during an all-night marathon of Friday the 13th on Halloween 1998), which continued until 2000.

2001 saw the turning point in the channel's history- they went entirely towards dramas, and rid themselves of all non-dramatic scripted programming (which may have played a part in TBS' transition to all-comedy a few years later). They even introduced a slogan, "We Know Drama", to emphasize this point. For almost a decade, more and more original programming would be added alongside the heavy slate of crime drama reruns, though sports and movies continued to play a part (movies now generally occupying overnights and weekends).

Currently, the channel still has drama as their primary focus, but has moved away from crime dramas and into action-adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and suspense, plus sports and movies.

There have also been international versions of the channel; during the 1990s they were more like TCM, in mainly running Turner-owned movies (though the UK/Europe feed aired WCW Monday Nitro on Fridays,a dn the Latin American feeds had a kids block dubbed "Magic Box"); most of these channels did end up being rebranded to TCM. (Depending on where you were, they also shared space with either Cartoon Network or CNN International.) The Latin American channels, meanwhile continue as they were. (The UK for a brief period in 1999-2000 had both TCM and an entertainment-focused TNT, but the latter shut down rather quickly, possibly due to bizarre distribution- both cable and analogue Sky viewers got TNT, but no TCM, and yet Sky Digital customers got TCM, but no TNT (as for Cartoon Network, it was bizarrely absent on Sky Digital at first, but was part of the failed ONDigital/ITV Digital subscription DTT service; when ITV Digital collapsed CN went away and never returned).)

First-run and original programming seen on TNT include (ongoing shows marked in bold):


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