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|Known for||former CEO of Turner Broadcasting System|
Jamie Kellner is an American television executive. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a division of Time Warner which includes TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network. Kellner took over the post in 2001 and handed over the company to Philip Kent in 2003. He is currently the Chairman of station ownership group ACME Communications, a post held since the company's founding.
Early life and education
After college he participated in the CBS Executive Training Program and after CBS disposed of its syndication division, he rose to the rank of vice president for first-run programming, development, and sales at Viacom. In 1978, he accepted a job as executive of Filmways, a film and television producer and distributor. In 1982, after Filmways was taken over by Orion Pictures, he served as president of its Orion Entertainment Group, where he oversaw and supervised their programming and syndication activities including the launch of Cagney and Lacey. In 1986, he was the first executive hired by Rupert Murdoch and Barry Diller to develop a fourth television network to compete with the big three. At Fox, he was charged with building the affiliate network, selling programming to advertisers, and the establishment of relations with program producers.
Fox Broadcasting Company
Kellner was present at the creation of the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was then considered a radical idea, as it was taking on the three networks that had dominated American television since the 1950s, ABC, CBS and NBC (CBS and NBC were really the "big two", in regards to ratings and number of affiliates, until ABC experienced a surge in popularity in the late 1960s).
Despite incredible skepticism, Kellner was part of the team that gave the network the "attitude" that has marked the network ever since. Among the shows that emerged during Kellner's seven years at Fox were The Simpsons, Married... with Children, Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and In Living Color. Those shows held the fledgling "web" together until Fox shocked the TV world by winning partial rights to the National Football League in 1994 from CBS; that, as well as channel upgrades in many markets due to Fox's alliance and merger with New World Communications, made Fox a legitimate fourth network.
WB Television Network
Kellner then spent seven years at the helm of the WB Television Network. He helped launch the new broadcast network in 1994. During his tenure, Kellner began by championing urban sitcoms, but eventually steered the network in the direction of teen and family-oriented dramas. 7th Heaven, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, Dawson's Creek, Felicity and Charmed all premiered during Kellner's presidency.
Kellner was responsible for cancelling the most successful cartoons on The WB Television Network: Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Freakazoid, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and Histeria.
|“||Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming.||”|
World Championship Wrestling
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A 2005 book about World Championship Wrestling alleged that Kellner was the one who really killed the former powerhouse promotion. Despite a downturn in ratings (WCW's ratings were still higher than most programming on TNT and TBS at the time) and a financial crisis, former WCW president Eric Bischoff (through Fusient Media Ventures) was still interested in buying it and turning it around. However, Kellner thought that, even if WCW could once again attract viewers, the demographics would not be favorable enough to get the right advertisers to buy airtime. In March 2001, Kellner announced that TBS and TNT would no longer air wrestling shows. As a result, WWE (then known as World Wrestling Federation) purchased WCW and its related assets. Due to what is considered the decline of the WWE product, many wrestling fans have denounced Kellner's actions in regards to WCW, blaming him for the fact that WWE owner Vince McMahon has a virtual monopoly on the professional wrestling market, although others have defended Kellner, calling it unfair to blame him for WCW's demise when it was due to a series of internal mistakes that the company was already massively in debt.
Kellner is married to Julie Kellner; they have two children, Melisa and Christopher.