Ted Turner: The Maverick Mogul Reflects on His Legacy, Big Deals and Old Feuds

Variety | 4/9/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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In his prime as a media mogul, Ted Turner was the embodiment of disruption.

From humble beginnings with a UHF-TV station in Atlanta, Turner built an empire that blazed trails in communications. His unbridled ambition fueled the rise of cable television as an alternative to the broadcast TV status quo. He saw cable’s need for programming and turned his small local station into a national “Superstation.” He birthed the world’s first 24-hour news network, CNN, in 1980, out of sheer determination. He understood the long-tail theory of content long before it had a name with his bet-the-company gamble on buying movie and TV libraries, from MGM to Hanna-Barbera.

Turner - Media - Business - Decades - Focus

Turner, 80, has stayed away from the media business for most of the past two decades, shifting his focus to environmental protection and advocacy, management of the 2 million acres of land he owns across nine states, and his investments in renewable energy and the Ted’s Montana Grill restaurant chain. In 2015, Atlanta-based Turner Enterprises launched the Ted Turner Reserves hospitality venture, offering luxury ecotourism packages at four properties in New Mexico.

As Turner Classic Movies — the last cable channel that Turner Broadcasting System launched as an independent outfit — turns 25 this week, Turner took time to reflect on his accomplishments and the legacy of the scrappy content company he sold to Time Warner in 1996. He stubbornly steered clear of any questions about the current state of the Turner cable channels, nor would he offer his views on AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner last year. The Turner division that survived even the disastrous AOL years at Time Warner was essentially dismantled last month when AT&T initiated a sweeping overhaul of Time Warner’s management structure.

Changes - Turner - Difference - Days

If those changes upset Turner, he’s not saying. That’s a big difference from the old days, when he earned...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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