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TNT (1988)

"We Know Drama"

Type :  

  Summary  

Turner Network Television is an American cable television channel created by media mogul Ted Turner and currently owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner. Since 2007, TNT has re-launched local versions of the channel in Spain, Germany and Turkey with more European countries in the pipeline.

  Biography  

  1980s
TNT, as a cable service, was launched with a showing of the 1939 classic movie Gone with the Wind , on October 3, 1988. It was chosen because, it was said, it was Turner's favorite movie – it would also be the first program on sister channel Turner Classic Movies in 1994. Incidentally, the film had been premiered in Atlanta, Turner's hometown and the headquarters of Turner Broadcasting, as well as being the setting for Gone With the Wind.

TNT was, at least initially, a vehicle for older movies and television shows, but slowly began to add original programming and newer reruns. When TNT began broadcasting pre-1986 MGM films, it caused a controversy when they began colorizing many black and white classics.

  1990s

In 1990, it obtained partial rights to the Sunday Night Football package for the National Football League, which it retained until 1997. The NFL on TNT consisted of three or four preseason games annually and of regular-season telecasts of the first half of each season. As has always been the case for cable broadcasts, TNT distributed their feed to local television stations in the market of the teams playing.

Starting in 1995, TNT was also the home of WCW Monday Nitro, the flagship show of the now defunct World Championship Wrestling, once regularly the highest rated weekly program on cable. The program defeated Monday Night Raw, the flagship show of the then-World Wrestling Federation, for 83 straight weeks until 1998.

It was also known for its late night programming, such as MonsterVision, which showcased B movies , with occasional guest hosts Penn and Teller. MonsterVision eventually found a permanent host in cult personality and drive in movie aficionado Joe Bob Briggs. Every Saturday night, from 1995 to 2000, he would host a pair of horror films (such as Friday the 13th Part 2 and Wes Craven's New Nightmare) provide a running commentary, trivia, off-color jokes and a drive-in total. Also included in his host segments were jokes at the expense of Turner Network Television's Standards & Practices department for heavy censorship of the featured movies. This running joke culminated in a Friday the 13th all-night marathon during Halloween of 1998, where it was implied that Ted Turner was out to kill him.

Up until 1998, TNT would also show cartoons from the Turner library, such as The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, the DePatie-Freleng Pink Panther cartoons, Dexter's Laboratory, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, among many others on a block called "TNT Toons". The Rudy and Gogo World Famous Cartoon Show was also a TNT original show featuring classic Warner Bros., MGM, and Popeye shorts, hosted by marionettes and a nanny goat. Cartoons are now exclusively on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

In the 1990s, TNT scheduled a lineup of shows for weekday afternoons including Due South, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Babylon 5, and Ellen. In 1998, TNT took over production of the fifth and final season of Babylon 5 from the defunct Prime Time Entertainment Network. In 1999, TNT produced the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade but it was canceled after 13 episodes, when TNT decided science fiction did not fit their brand identity.

During 2001, TNT had its then most successful original series, Witchblade, which ran for two seasons, ending its run in 2002.

  "We Know Drama" era
On June 12, 2001, TNT relaunched itself, with a new logo (by Trollbäck + Company) and a new slogan, "We Know Drama", which emphasized the channel's new focus on programming with drama and energy, such as sports and network TV dramas like Angel, Law & Order, Charmed, NYPD Blue, ER, Without a Trace, Alias, Judging Amy, Las Vegas and Cold Case. It is in direct contrast to sister channel TBS, which shows more comedy related programming, and by extension Cartoon Network, which showed exclusively animated programming at the time . In addition, NASCAR coverage moved to TNT from TBS starting in the 2001 season, as Ted Turner believed that it would fit more with TNT's new look and theme than TBS.

On January 1, 2003, "TNT Plus" began broadcasting as a substitute for TNT, although it does not appear this was ever reflected in the channel's on-air identity. The apparent sole purpose of its establishment was to force rate renegotiations to help pay for TNT's new NBA and NASCAR contracts, well before the channel's rates were scheduled to come up for renewal with most cable and satellite providers. In theory, TNT Plus was to have been the sole carrier of Turner's NBA and NASCAR coverage from that point forward, while any providers still carrying the original TNT would have seen replacement programming instead. Although it appears that Comcast did not immediately sign on for TNT Plus, there is no evidence of Turner actually pulling sports programming from the "original" TNT.

In 2004, TNT became the first Turner channel to begin broadcasting in high definition. TNT is also one of the Turner-owned channels which now shows the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

On 7 December 2008, TNT unveiled a newly stylized update of its logo, mainly in shiny silver but sometimes in gold. The campaign will continue to use the channel's tagline "We Know Drama" but with more of a focus on its original series and its plan to have three nights of original primetime programming starting in 2009.

On 6 November 2009, TNT announced that it had obtained exclusive syndication rights for The Mentalist and would begin airing old episodes of the series starting in the fall of 2011.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Turner Network Television", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.