The day after a series of high-profile firings at Turner Classic Movies sparked outrage in the film community, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav installed new leadership at the beloved cable network.
IndieWire has confirmed that Warner Bros. Film Group co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy will add oversight of TCM to their portfolio of responsibilities. De Luca and Adby are expected to oversee programming at TCM, taking over from longtime general manager Pola Changnon and programming chief Charles Tabesh, both of whom were fired on Wednesday.
In addition to Changnon and Tabesh, the layoffs included VP of creativity and brand marketing Dexter Fedor; Vice President of Enterprises and Strategic Partnerships Genevieve McGillicuddy, who also served as director of the annual TCM Film Festival; and vice president of studio production Anne Wilson. Among their responsibilities were curating lineups, shooting intros and outros, and creating original shows, documentaries, and video essays.
Although Zaslav had publicly expressed his support for TCM on multiple occasions, many feared that the company’s cost-cutting measures and focus on tentpole franchises would inevitably lead to neglect of the niche cable network. Many prominent voices were quick to defend the channel’s place in the wider film ecosystem after news of the layoffs.
“If TCM is neglected, or God forbid, shut down, it would be a huge loss to film culture,” wrote IndieWire’s Christian Blauvelt. “It would devalue Warner Bros.” own legacy – if they don’t care about this unique way of showcasing their story and in context, why should filmmakers believe that Warner Bros. values cinema over profits?
Shortly after the TCM layoffs were announced, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson met with Zaslav to discuss the network’s future. Subsequently, they released a statement expressing their continued support for TCM and optimism for its future.
“Each of us spent time talking to David, separately and together, and it’s clear that TCM and classic cinema are very important to him. Our primary goal is to ensure that TCM’s programming is intact and secure,” the three directors said in a statement. “We are heartened and encouraged by the conversations we’ve had thus far and are committed to working together to ensure the continuation of this cornerstone. of cultural comparison that we all treasure”.