Steven Spielberg & more meet with David Zaslav about TCM

Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson meet with David Zaslav to discuss future of TCM after troubling layoffs.

Steven Spielberg, TCM

Earlier this week, a number of executives at Turner Classic Movies were laid off, leading some to believe that the future of the network might be in doubt. Thankfully, TCM has some heavy hitters ready to go to bat for them, including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson.

According to IndieWire, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson have scheduled an emergency call with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav to discuss the layoffs at TCM. Some of the people laid off from TCM include EVP and General Manager Pola Changnon, SVP of Programming and Content Strategy Charles Tabesh, VP of Brand Creative and Marketing Dexter Fedor, VP of Enterprises and Strategic Partnerships Genevieve McGillicuddy, and VP of Studio Production Anne Wilson . There were the people who were responsible for “everything from curating lineups, to shooting intros and outros, and for creating original shows, documentaries, and video essays that serve as major contributions to American cultural history.

Turner Classic Movies is one of the few traditional networks where audiences can discover classic cinema, but the changing entertainment landscape has put TCM in danger. “I fear for the future of TCM,“director Martin Scorsese told the Los Angeles Times in 2021.”So does everyone else I know who loves movies.” Scorsese added that he regularly has TCM on in the editing suite. “It gives me something to turn to, to bounce off of, to rest in, to reinvigorate my thinking — just glancing at some image or combination of images at a certain moment,” he said. “It’s more like a presence in the room, a reminder of film history as a living, ongoing entity.

David Zaslav has frequently said that he wants Warner Bros. to become a home for filmmakers, but his obsession with the bottom line comes into conflict with attracting those desiring creative freedom. You might second-guess signing a deal with a studio that shelves movies for a tax write-off.

Many credit TCM for introducing them to movies they didn’t even know existed. The curated programming and original documentaries help keep the era of classic cinema alive, so I can only hope that Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson are able to convince David Zaslav of the worth of TCM.