About a week after the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO gutted the leadership team of Turner Classic Movies, a group of famed directors — Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson — has been brought on board to curate films for the network, as reported earlier by CNBC.
TCM is the commercial-free cable channel that runs a library of curated classic films on a 24/7 loop. Since its launch in the ’90s, TCM has been regarded as a staple in the film industry, specifically among those dedicated to film preservation and history.
That’s why Warner Bros. Discovery sparked outrage last week after slashing the TCM team from 90 to about 20, according to The Wrap, and laid off film veteran Pola Changnon, the executive vice president of TCM. The company even fired and then re-hired Charles Tabesh, TCM’s vice president of programming, after suffering some serious backlash. The job cuts even garnered a response from Ryan Reynolds, among many other film lovers, who feared that TCM would become just another cost to cut for Zaslav.
The funny part is, Zaslav is a known film nerd, at least according to the many profiles that have been done on him. In a recent interview with IndieWire, Changnon told the outlet that Zaslav was “so moved” by TCM’s tribute to the classic film directors who died in the past year that “he insisted it air on all of their other networks.”
Spielberg, Scorsese, and Anderson raised their concerns with Zaslav himself, and now that they’ve been picked up to curate content for the platform, the trio put out a joint statement that appears to pat Zaslav on the back for the move despite the fact he nearly put the network on life support.
“This unique arrangement, initiated by David Zaslav, reflects his commitment to honoring the TCM legacy while also involving us on curation and programming,” they say. “We have already begun working on ideas with Mike [De Luca] and Pam [Abdy], both true film enthusiasts who share a passion and reverence for classic cinema that is the hallmark of the TCM community.”
Since taking over the helm at Warner Bros. Discovery, Zaslav has made a number of high-profile cuts affecting Batgirl, Raised by Wolves, Westworld, and others — but TCM clearly isn’t one to mess with. After all, TCM has one of the largest classic film libraries in the world, with movies that inspired whole generations of filmmakers. It’s not so bad if Zaslav starts canning newer works, but going for the oldies would be a new low.