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Creator / Turner Classic Movies
aka: TCM

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TCM (nominally short for Turner Classic Movies) is a long-running,note  commercial-free cable TV network owned by WarnerMedia and dedicated to airing classic movies, most of them from the Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the pre-1986 library owned by Warner Bros & the post-1986 library owned by MGM themselves), United Artists, RKO, and Janus film libraries. TCM daily airs many familiar classics (mostly released before 1980 and often pre-1970), along with tons of foreign films and obscure rarities that would otherwise never be able to see the light of day — including stuff that nobody would think about, like trailers and even two-reel live-action comedies. The network shows no outside commercials, although between (never during) films they will show old film trailers, short commercials for the network's merchandise, and other interstitial material.


The late Robert Osborne was the primary on-air Host for the channel from 1994 to 2016. Ben Mankiewicz (grandson of Herman J.!) joined in 2003, handling daytime and weekend airings while Osborne continued to introduce films in prime time during the week. After Osborne's death in 2017, Mankiewicz took over as the primary host. Tiffany Vazquez served as Saturday daytime host from 2016 to 2018; since then, Alicia Malone and Dave Karger have rotated to host whichever slots Mankiewicz doesn't do. (They're occasionally joined by others; see Guest Host, below.)

The network won a 2008 Peabody Award for their dedication to broadcasting and restoring classic and foreign films.

On March 4, 2019, it was announced that Warner Bros. would take over operations of TCM, along with former Turner networks Cartoon Network, Boomerang and [adult swim], effectively dissolving Turner Broadcasting as an autonomous unit.


Compare and contrast to AMC, which was once much like TCM (with genial host Bob Dorian) before it experienced Network Decay. This was partially because TCM had gained the rights to so many of the classic movie catalogs, and partially as a way to appeal to younger audiences through the use of more contemporary movies and acclaimed original dramas like Mad Men.

You can find its Web site here. The official YouTube channel can be found here.

"Turner Classic Tropes":

  • Artifact Title: The annual 31 Days of Oscar marathon originally aired on March, same month as the Academy Awards. When the ceremony moved to February, the marathon did too, but retained the title and the 31 day format, simply moving the remaining days over to March.
  • Audio Description: Even when this feature for the visually impaired was at its lowest adoption rate in the mid-2000s, TCM has continued to be one of the largest advocates of this service, which helps to allow those who aren't able to see a film still enjoy it with narrated descriptions on much of TCM's library.
  • The Criterion Collection: TCM airs many of its titles, and in 2016 launched a joint venture with Criterion to create a subscription online streaming service called FilmStruck.
  • Film Noir: Is naturally featured in the channel, including the weekly Noir Alley series hosted by "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller.
  • Guest Host: In 2011 Robert Osborne took a five-month sabbatical following a surgical operation, leading TCM to employ a number of guest hosts in his absence.
    • The Essentials, a weekly presentation of a selected film which airs on Saturday evenings, has featured a celebrity guest host (or co-host with Osborne) since it debuted in 2001. Hosts have included Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, Molly Haskell, Carrie Fisher, Rose McGowan, Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, and Sally Field. Following Osborne's death in 2017, Baldwin took over as the primary host and is now paired with a different special guest each week.
      • Essentials Jr. was a companion series that ran during the summer months, presenting films for kids and families. Hosts included Tom Kenny, Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell, John Lithgow, and Bill Hader. In 2015 it was re-branded as TCM Movie Camp, co-hosted by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg and airing on Sunday evenings.
    • TCM also has an occasional "guest programmer" feature, in which a special guest (usually, though not always, a celebrity) chooses a lineup of films for a given night and pairs with a regular TCM host to introduce them.
    • In 2013 TCM introduced a new Friday Night Spotlight feature, with a guest host joining Osborne to present films based around a given subject or theme.
    • Eddie Muller hosts the Film Noir-specific Noir Alley on Saturdays at midnight.
  • Internal Homage: Started its debut broadcast with Gone with the Wind, which had also kicked off its older sister channel TNT in 1988.
  • The Ken Burns Effect: The mini-documentaries that TCM runs to fill time between features—usually short programs focusing on a particular filmmaker or movie star—use this trope a lot. Typically movie stills or production stills will be coupled with a lot of camera panning.
  • Letterbox: They sometimes show an educational short explaining to non-cinephiles how aspect ratios work and why letterboxing is a good idea. Also notably, they almost always run the films they air in their original aspect ratio and completely uncensored. This even occurs on the HD feed, whereas TBS and TNT will stretch out films across if they only have the pan and scan standard def version on their HD channels. (That said, there have been some odd exceptions in recent years; their current print of The Thing from Another World is formatted to 1.85:1, for instance. There are also occasional cases where no better print of a film in question is available besides a pan-and-scan TV print.)
  • Muppet Cameo: Kermit the Frog was a guest host in 2007.
  • Network Decay: Heroically averted thus far, as explained in detail on this page. TCM has ventured timorously into the world of commercials in The New '10s, mostly for its own products relating to the film industry (video releases, books, Hollywood bus tours, the TCM Film Festival, the TCM Classic Cruise). They also have started straight-up commercials for Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard, aka the "TCM Wine Club" (and even then there's a classic movie undertone to it considering who owns it).
    • Amusingly, there's a small (but vocal) minority of viewers who assert that TCM has decayed for a myriad of reasons that seem ridiculously arbitrary to other fans of the channel; it's been charged that TCM now airs too many "modern" films, or that it shows too many foreign films, or that it's been "taken over" by The Criterion Collection, and so on. A 2016 petition that demanded the network only show films made prior to 1960 was ripped apart by the denizens of the network's forum.
    • The Latin American version, which even covered another aspect of "abandoned stuff" by broadcasting old shows (from Bonanza to The X-Files), showed a slight decay, possibly inspired by low ratings, in the mid to late 2010s, where movies of 21st century started to become slightly common and impromptu marathons of Lost can be found at least once a week. Nevertheless, the channel still runs mostly on movies made before 2000.
  • Nighthawks Shot: The "Open All Night" interstitial that TCM runs for programs aired in very late night/very early morning slots ends with a live-action shot staged to look just like the "Nighthawks" painting.
  • Really Dead Montage: The channel airs a "TCM Remembers" tribute each December, showing the various film personalities (from both sides of the camera) who have died in the preceding year.
  • Retraux: Whenever TCM runs a silent movie with a TCM-commissioned soundtrack (usually by Robert Israel), the composer's credit is shown on a grainy background meant to imitate the look of grainy scratched-up silent movies.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In 2002, a special sing-along edition of The Wizard of Oz was hosted by Robert Osborne and the Powerpuff Girls to promote the release of their movie.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silence Is Golden: The Silent Sunday Nights slot. Most every Sunday, TCM shows a silent film at midnight Eastern, 9 pm Pacific.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Hoo, boy. During the three-minute or so spots for an upcoming movie they're going to air, they practically show you enough scenes that you could put together a decently accurate article about it on The Other Wiki without even seeing the movie itself.

Alternative Title(s): TCM


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