TBS (U.S. TV channel)
|Launched||December 17, 1976|
|Owned by||Turner Broadcasting System|
|DirecTV||Channel 247 (HD/SD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 139 (HD/SD)|
|Google Fiber||Channel 284 (HD/SD)|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
TBS is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner, which shares its name with the channel. TBS carries a variety of programming, with a focus on comedy, along with some sports events, including Major League Baseball and portions of the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.
In its current form, TBS was originally established on December 17, 1976 as a national feed of Turner's local, independent broadcast television station in Atlanta, WTCG. The decision to begin offering WTCG via satellite transmission expanded the small independent station into a national cable channel; with the renaming of the broadcast station in 1979, the feed became known as Superstation WTBS, and later Superstation TBS, TBS Superstation, or simply TBS. The channel broadcast a variety of programming during this era, including films, syndicated series, Atlanta Braves baseball, and professional wrestling (including Georgia Championship Wrestling, and later World Championship Wrestling).
WTBS's local programming was nearly identical to the national feed, aside from FCC-mandated public affairs and educational programming that only aired on the local signal. By the early 2000s, TBS had begun to focus more intensively on comedic programming, including sitcoms and other series. On October 1, 2007, WTBS and the TBS Superstation feed were separated, with WTBS re-launching as the Atlanta-specific Peachtree TV, and TBS becoming a conventional basic cable network with no over-the-air simulcast as had been previously the case. As of February 2015, TBS is available to approximately 96.5 million pay television households (82.9% of households with at least one television set) in the United States.
- 1 Availability
- 2 History
- 3 High definition
- 4 Programming
- 5 References
- 6 External links
TBS is available on cable and satellite providers throughout the entire United States. Until October 1, 2007, the national TBS feed could not be viewed within its home market in the Atlanta metropolitan area, due to the over-the-air presence of WTBS (channel 17), which carried a nearly identical schedule, with the only differing programming being children's programs that meet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s educational programming guidelines and public affairs programming.
The operations of WTBS and TBS Superstation were separated in October 2007, with the over-the-air Atlanta station becoming WPCH-TV, a general entertainment independent station focused solely on the Atlanta area. The national TBS feed became available to cable and satellite subscribers within channel 17's viewing area as a result.
TBS's programming was previously made available to cable and satellite subscribers in Canada through the WTBS Atlanta feed. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had only approved the Atlanta station's broadcast signal to be carried on cable and satellite providers domestically across Canada, not the TBS cable feed. As a result, following the separation of TBS and WTBS/WPCH in 2007, Canadian cable and satellite subscribers received access to WPCH/Atlanta (branded as "Peachtree TV"), instead of TBS. Most of TBS's flagship programming, such as Major League Baseball (both regular season and postseason games) and original series (such as Conan), are not broadcast on WPCH-TV, but are instead carried on other Canadian specialty channels.
TBS originated as a broadcast television station in Atlanta, Georgia that operated on UHF channel 17, and maintained a general entertainment format as an independent station. The station first signed on the air on September 1, 1967, as WJRJ-TV; Ted Turner acquired the station from its founder, Atlanta entrepreneur Jack Rice, Jr., in January 1970 and changed the call letters to WTCG, which officially stood for We're Turner Communications Group (the forerunner to the Turner Broadcasting System), although the station used "Watch This Channel Grow" as a promotional slogan. Beginning in the early 1970s, WTCG was microwave-linked to many areas of the Southeastern United States through cable providers who picked up the UHF signal off-air and microwaved the signal (sometimes several times) back to their headends. Early programming included movies from the 1930s and 1940s, sitcoms (such as Father Knows Best, Green Acres, Hazel, I Love Lucy, and The Lucy Show), and Japanese animated series (such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Marine Boy, The Space Giants, Speed Racer, and Ultraman). The station also carried sports, such as Atlanta Braves baseball, Atlanta Hawks basketball, Atlanta Flames hockey, and Georgia Championship Wrestling.
WTCG also bid very low on programming, leaving the network-affiliated stations in the market – WSB-TV (channel 2), WAGA-TV (channel 5), and WXIA-TV (channel 11) – to acquire the stronger shows. But, because of programming commitments that the affiliates had to their networks, those stations kept the shows for only a few years at a time and rarely renewed them, after which WTCG bought the syndicated shows second-hand at much lower prices. By the mid-1970s, The Andy Griffith Show, The Flintstones, Leave It to Beaver, The Little Rascals, My Three Sons, Star Trek, The Three Stooges, and many others were added to the station's schedule.
In 1976, most U.S. cities below the top 20 media markets lacked independent stations running general entertainment programs, and generally had only stations affiliated with ABC, NBC, and CBS, along with a non-commercial educational station. Cable providers in these areas carried stations from neighboring markets, and if possible, an independent station (often located anywhere between 60 and 200 miles away).
WTCG gets beamed via satellite
Ted Turner decided to distribute his station through satellite, enabling WTCG to be received nationwide, especially in markets lacking even a distant independent station. At 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 17, 1976, WTCG's signal was beamed via the Satcom 1 satellite to cable systems in Grand Island, Nebraska; Newport News, Virginia; Troy, Alabama, and Newton, Kansas. The first broadcast was the 1948 Dana Andrews-Cesar Romero film Deep Waters, which had been in progress for 30 minutes on channel 17 in Atlanta. Instantly, WTCG went from being a small independent television station that was available only in Georgia and neighboring states to a major coast-to-coast operation. WTCG became a so-called "superstation" and set a precedent for today's basic cable television. By 1978, WTCG was carried on cable providers in all 50 states.
TBS became only the second U.S. cable channel to transmit its programming via satellite; HBO (which eventually became a sister channel to TBS through Time Warner's 1996 acquisition of the Turner Broadcasting System) began to distribute its signal nationally through satellite transmission on September 30, 1975 but cable subscribers were required to pay extra to receive that service. Ted Turner's innovation signaled the start of the basic cable revolution.
Initial change to WTBS
WTCG changed its callsign to WTBS on August 27, 1979. The new call letters were acquired via a monetary donation to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's student radio station (now WMBR) for the construction of a new transmitter. In the late 1970s, WTBS continued to acquire second-hand programming such as made-for-TV Popeye cartoons, The Brady Bunch, The Munsters, and other programs. The station acquired reruns of All in the Family and Sanford and Son in 1979, as well as Little House on the Prairie and CHiPs in 1981. Other older shows would eventually be removed from the schedule. WTCG also mixed more movie releases from the 1950s through the 1970s into its schedule.
The channel 17 transmitter was originally located at 1018 West Peachtree Street Northwest (it has since been relocated to the Atlanta suburb of North Druid Hills, Georgia), with the antenna located on a large self-supporting tower. The building at this site was once home to the studios of CBS affiliate WAGA-TV (now a Fox owned-and-operated station) and, later, channel 17, during its first three years as WJRJ-TV. Soon after being purchased by Turner, the station moved to new studio facilities a few blocks west at the former site of the Progressive Club, after briefly having had offices on Williams Street, across Interstate 75/85; these facilities now house Adult Swim and Williams Street Productions. It shared the ex-Progressive Club studios with CNN and Headline News until they moved into the CNN Center downtown in 1987. Initially, WTCG was identified as "Channel 17" both locally in Atlanta and on cable providers outside of that area. The same shows that ran on the local Atlanta broadcast were also aired nationally. After the station adopted WTBS as its callsign, Turner branded the station as "Superstation WTBS" with reference within the logo to the channel 17 frequency in Atlanta. Many cable providers throughout the country even carried it on channel 17.
In 1981, Turner decided to have all of the shows carried by WTBS continue to air both locally and nationally, but separated the feeds (in a move that preceded fellow superstations WGN-TV and WWOR-TV doing the same thing, though only after FCC passage of the Syndication Exclusivity Rights rule in 1989). The station would be branded in Atlanta as "Superstation 17" and would continue to air local commercials as well. Nationally, though, the station would not mention the channel number "17" and would use logos identifying it only as "Superstation WTBS" (outside of minor technical issues where local ads and promos aired erroneously on the national feed). Separate national advertising or per inquiry ads would air on the superstation feed.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists library
During the 1980s, WTBS focused heavily on movies – running two films during the day, and a movie-exclusive schedule during the nighttime hours after 8:00 p.m., with the exception of sports events. At other times, WTBS continued to run mostly classic sitcoms and vintage cartoons. In 1986, when Ted Turner purchased Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists (which he would sell back to previous owner Kirk Kerkorian that October due to debt incurred by the Turner Broadcasting System from its purchase of the film studio), WTBS gained the rights to the entire MGM/UA film library (including certain acquisitions by MGM). It gave WTBS the rights to air many theatrical cartoon shorts such as Tom & Jerry, as well as shows like Gilligan's Island and CHiPs.
Along with Tom & Jerry, WTBS began to run The Little Rascals, Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons released prior to August 1948, theatrical Popeye cartoon shorts, and Three Stooges shorts under the banner The TBS Tom & Jerry Funhouse running for either one hour or 90 minutes during the morning hours and for an hour in the afternoon from 1986 until the mid-1990s. In the late 1980s, WTBS decreased the amount of movies broadcast during the day slightly and began to add sitcoms from the 1970s (such as Happy Days, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and One Day at a Time) to the evening lineup; Little House on the Prairie aired during the late mornings continuously from 1986 to 2003.
Music videos also aired during its late night lineup on weekends from 1983 to 1992 as part of the program Night Tracks, with up to 14 hours of programming (barring pre-emptions from sporting events running overtime). Beginning in 1991, a handful of shows (mostly movies) that were shown nationally were pre-empted in the Atlanta market in order to broadcast FCC-mandated news, public affairs, and children's programming – continuing until the split of the TBS national feed from the Atlanta station.
Though not programming in the traditional sense, WTBS' superstation feed carried the teletext service Electra on its vertical blanking interval from the early 1980s until 1993, when it was shut down due to lack of funding and interest, as the other partners in the venture, Zenith Electronics and Taft Broadcasting had respectively stopped manufacturing TV sets with teletext capability and had undergone several corporate buyouts.
TBS was also the television home of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) (formerly owned by Jim Crockett Promotions, which fell under the NWA umbrella); it carried the weekly show, WCW Saturday Night, from 1992 to 2000, and was the flagship program for the WCW before Monday Nitro launched in 1995 on sister channel TNT. Another WCW show, WCW Thunder, debuted in 1998 on Thursday nights; the program was moved to Wednesdays in 2000, before it was cancelled in 2001 when TBS executive Jamie Kellner determined that wrestling did not fit the demographics of either TBS or TNT and would not be favorable enough to get the "right" advertisers to buy airtime---even though Thunder was the highest-rated show on the channel at the time.
In the early 1990s, shows such as The Flintstones, The Brady Bunch, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts, Gilligan's Island, and others remained on the schedule as other older shows such as The Three Stooges and Little Rascals shorts and Leave it to Beaver were dropped from the channel to make way for more sitcoms from the 1980s such as Three's Company, Who's the Boss?, Growing Pains, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and Saved by the Bell. Original animated programs such as Captain Planet and the Planeteers, 2 Stupid Dogs, and SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron were also added as part of the Sunday Morning In Front Of The TV block.
In 1996, the Turner Broadcasting System was acquired by Time Warner; among the programming changes instituted after the merger was the addition of Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons that were released after August 1, 1948; they began airing in January 1997.
Shift towards comedy
In 1997, TBS began to collect subscriber fees directly from cable operators, effectively causing the national feed to begin operating under the conventions of a basic cable channel, although it was still technically designated as a superstation. In exchange, TBS began to lease advertising slots to cable providers to allow them to locally insert commercials in the provider's service area; as a result, the channel began to broadcast fewer Atlanta Braves regular season games to a national audience. In 1998, WTBS dropped all of its remaining cartoons (which at the time were running under the Disaster Area banner), with those shows migrating to Cartoon Network and becoming the core of a new cable channel devoted to classic cartoons that launched several months later called Boomerang.
WTBS continued to run a mix of movies, sitcoms and drama series. By 2001, several sitcoms from the 1980s and 1990s such as Full House, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, Friends, Seinfeld and Home Improvement became part of the schedule, many of them airing as part of the afternoon "Non-Stop Comedy Block" by 2002. In 2003, WTBS dropped Little House on the Prairie and other dramatic programming as a part of its new focus on comedic programs, such as sitcom reruns, original reality television series, and theatrically released comedy films. As part of this focus, TBS adopted the slogan "veryfunny" and introduced a new logo in June 2004. The refocusing is intended as a direct contrast to sister channel TNT, which had focused on older movies initially but moved toward and now focuses on drama series and films.
Split from the Atlanta signal
In late June 2007, the Turner Broadcasting System announced that WTBS would change its callsign to WPCH-TV, and would be rebranded as "Peachtree TV". The rebranded channel 17 would offer sitcoms and movies geared specifically toward the station's Atlanta audience, and would also broadcast 45 Atlanta Braves baseball games starting with the 2008 season. The change occurred on October 1, with the national feed becoming a separate cable channel that retained the TBS name. In addition, the channel 17 changeover allowed cable and satellite subscribers in the Atlanta market – which previously received WTBS's local Atlanta signal – to receive the national TBS feed for the first time since the early 1980s. Following the change, Canadian cable providers were legally required to continue carrying the local Peachtree TV signal, instead of switching to the national TBS feed. Beginning with the 2008 season, TBS began airing Major League Baseball postseason games, with regular season baseball coverage expanding to include games from other MLB teams.
In November 2009, TBS debuted its first late-night talk show, Lopez Tonight, hosted by comedian George Lopez. One year later, the channel expanded its late-night offerings with the November 8, 2010 debut of Conan, after TBS struck a deal to give Conan O'Brien a show on the channel on the heels of his controversial exit as host of NBC's The Tonight Show. Lopez Tonight ended its run on August 12, 2011, after it was cancelled due to a steep decline in ratings. In 2011, TBS also obtained the partial cable television rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship – which it shares with Turner-owned sister channels TNT and TruTV, along with the tournament's longtime broadcaster, CBS.
During the first quarter of 2012, TBS's viewership in the 18-49 adult demographic beat all other advertiser-supported cable channels, in spite of the fact that TBS did not air any original programs in prime time during that period nor had it aired a show among the 50 highest-rated cable programs. The channel's third late-night talk show, The Pete Holmes Show, debuted on October 28, 2013, hosted by comedian Pete Holmes (like Lopez Tonight, it could not capitalize on Conan as its lead-in and was cancelled in May 2014).
Evolution of the TBS branding
Over the years, TBS has had several logos and undergone multiple name changes. As a superstation, it was named "SuperStation WTBS" starting in 1979. In 1987, the "W" from the "WTBS" callsign was dropped from the superstation's on-air branding in order to emphasize the channel's national programming prominence, with the WTBS Atlanta signal using the separate branding of "Superstation 17". On September 28, 1989, SuperStation TBS changed its name to "TBS Superstation" to reflect the strong national standing of the channel; also debuting was a promotional campaign with the slogan "TBYes!", featuring various stars of programs seen on TBS, with graphical elements of fireworks and a large rotating glass pane, which could display the TBS logo, then change to or from a slogan (depending on the promotional spot), or display a schedule of programs. Movie and special presentations, meanwhile, utilized introduction sequences with showed people in a small town flocking to a TBS-branded theater for various movies, with the interior having a couch in the front row of seats where various people would sit down; the music played was variants of the "TBYes" promotional music.
In 1991, the word "Superstation" was removed from the cable channel's on-air branding and promotions, rebranding it as simply "TBS"; this continued until December 17, 1996, when TBS celebrated its 20th anniversary as a national service, with the channel reverting its name back to "TBS Superstation" (promotions for the channel's programming beginning at this time until 2004 often verbally referred to the national feed only as "the Superstation"). The "Superstation" sub-brand was once again dropped in early 2004, with the channel reverting to being branded as simply TBS, months before it adopted a new logo that rendered the channel's name in lowercase and incorporated a half-circle made to resemble a mouth open as if it were laughing to signify the channel's new comedy programming. The half-circle element took on a motif with half a baseball or basketball rendered within it for Turner Sports programming.
On May 14, 2015, at the Turner Upfront presentation, president Kevin Reilly announced a major shift within the next few years for TBS and TNT. TBS will feature more original live-action comedies, original animated series, more late-night talk shows, and lots more of "big unscripted ideas with attitude". One of the first success stories out of this effort was the Monday night news-comedy show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
A new logo, which was previously revealed on social media beginning September 16, 2015, made its official debut on the evening of October 31, 2015. The new idents, which feature the logo being formed by all kinds of shapes, objects, structures, and surroundings, such as a gravestone, a flag on a sub sandwich, as a monster eating the 2004 logo in one bumper, etc. are all very similar to the same idents and techniques used by MTV in the 1980s through the early 2000s and VH1 in the early 2000s to mid-2000s. On April Fools' Day 2017, the T was removed from the DOG, so as to say "BS", as a prank, before it was restored the next day.
On October 22, 2016, AT&T reached a deal to buy Time Warner for $108.7 billion. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would bring Time Warner's properties, including TBS, under the same umbrella as AT&T's telecommunication holdings, including satellite provider DirecTV. On February 15, 2017, Time Warner shareholders approved the merger, which is still pending regulatory approval. On February 28, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that his agency will not review the deal, leaving the review to the US Department of Justice. On March 15, 2017, the merger, which is still pending approval from U.S. regulators, was approved by the European Commission.
A high definition feed of TBS, which broadcasts in 1080i, launched on September 1, 2007. Prior to the launch of the national channel's high definition feed, WTBS's digital signal – which is viewable over-the-air in the Atlanta market – had already transmitted in high definition (although most programs seen on the station, with the exception of Atlanta Braves and Southeastern Conference college football games, were broadcast in upconverted standard definition and pillarboxed until April 3, 2011); it was replaced by the superstation feed's HD simulcast, instead of simulcasting what became Peachtree TV.
Much like sister channel TNT, TBS airs a moderate amount of program content broadcast in 4:3 standard definition stretched to the 16:9 widescreen format through a non-linear process similar to the "panorama" setting on many HDTVs that some viewers have nicknamed Stretch-o-Vision after it was first used by TNT; though other HD simulcast feeds operated by cable channels have also adopted this practice. The non-linear stretching process leaves objects in the center of the screen with approximately their original aspect ratio; objects at the left and right edges are distorted (horizontal panning makes the distortion especially apparent). In addition to true HD content in 16:9, TBS HD also airs unstretched, upconverted standard definition content in its original aspect ratio, but commercials are aired in either format without stretching for ads produced in 480i. TBS launched a HD feed for its Pacific Time Zone feed on June 18, 2010.
TBS currently airs a mix of original sitcoms and reruns of sitcoms in a compressed format that were originally broadcast on the major broadcast networks. Original programs currently seen on TBS are American Dad! (after being cancelled by Fox), Conan, Angie Tribeca, The Detour, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Search Party, People of Earth, The Guest Book, and Wrecked.Upcoming original programs are Drop the Mic, The Joker's Wild, The Last O.G.,Final Space, The Cops, Tarantula, Storyville, Close Enough and Miracle Workers.
The channel's daytime schedule is heavily dominated by reruns of current and former network comedies, with these shows also airing in the evening and sporadically during the overnight hours. These programs are Family Guy, Friends, Seinfeld, The King of Queens, Married... with Children, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, and 2 Broke Girls. Starting in fall 2017 Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Mom will join the lineup as well.
On June 29, 1981, TBS (as SuperStation WTBS) began to use an off-time scheduling format for its programming known as "Turner Time." While program offerings on other broadcast and basic cable channels generally began at the top and bottom (:00 and :30 minutes) of each hour, TBS decided to begin airing programs five minutes later, at :05 and :35 minutes past the hour. Programs seen on TBS were listed under their own time entry in TV Guide, during the period in which the magazine published log listings, as a result of this scheduling, thus enabling the program listings to catch potential viewers' eyes more readily. The use of "Turner Time" also encouraged channel surfers who could not find anything interesting to watch at the top of the hour to still be able to watch a program on TBS without missing the first few minutes. Most importantly, since shows ended five minutes later than normal, from a strategic standpoint the off-time scheduling usually encouraged viewers to continue watching TBS rather than turning to another channel to watch a program that would already be airing in progress.
TBS reduced its use of the "Turner Time" scheduling in 1997 and switched entirely to conventional start times at the top and bottom of the hour by 2000. However, unconventional start times continue to be used for movies airing on the channel – whose running times may vary depending on the film's length with commercials added to pad the timeslot (for example, a movie that starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time may cause subsequent programming to start within the half-hour, such as at :15 and :45 after the hour). This often causes major disruptions in the start times of programming. In some circumstances, conventional "top-and-bottom" start times would not be restored until early the next morning. While this is not exactly related to the "Turner Time" format, it may strategically serve the same purposes due to the off-time scheduling. The "Turner Time" format is similar to the scheduling applied by most premium channels and certain other movie-oriented services (which schedule the start of programs in variable five-minute increments); other broadcast and cable channels have utilized similar off-time scheduling formats (such as Telemundo – which utilizes a "Turner Time"-style scheduling for programs during the first two hours of prime time – and Viacom-owned channels such as Nick at Nite, MTV and TV Land).
One type of programming that TBS does not produce presently is news. Nevertheless, TBS – during its existence as a superstation – produced a 20-minute newscast called 17 Update Early in the Morning from 1976 to 1979; hosted by Bill Tush and Tina Seldin, the program was taped at the end of the workday and aired between movies around 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Its format was similar to the Saturday Night Live segment Weekend Update and was, to a certain extent, a forerunner to The Daily Show. The timeslot and the satirical content of the program were a reaction to FCC rules in effect at the time that required stations to carry some news and information content – although TBS had to broadcast news, the FCC could not dictate when it aired or demand that it have a serious tone. 17 Update Early in the Morning was cancelled months before Ted Turner began his serious television news venture, CNN. Standard, more serious news updates with the 17 Update anchors also ran during the day in between programs; by the mid-1980s, these were produced by Headline News, known as "TBS News Watch" and continued until the mid-1990s.
CNN also produced an hour-long weeknight news program for TBS called the TBS Evening News that usually ran at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time during the early 1980s. For many years, WTBS also ran a half-hour simulcast of CNN's sister channel Headline News (now HLN) each morning at 6:00 a.m.; this was only carried in the Atlanta area and on cable providers in the market that received the local feed (currently, as WPCH-TV, the Atlanta station runs an hour-long simulcast block of HLN's news programming daily at 6:00 a.m.).
On September 11, 2001, TBS (along with sister channels TNT, Court TV, Headline News, CNNfn and CNNSI) carried CNN's coverage of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. During sports blackouts in some areas (particularly in markets where a channel such as a local broadcast station or regional sports network has the regional or local broadcast rights to a particular sporting event that is scheduled to air elsewhere around the country on TBS), TBS carries rolling news coverage from HLN in its place.
Feature films have been a mainstay of TBS since its inception as a superstation. In the present day, most of the films seen on TBS are of the comedy genre; however, some drama and action films continue to air on the channel periodically; movies on the channel generally air during the overnight hours on a daily basis and during much of the day on weekends (except from between 5:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturdays and 5:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday mornings – with the start time subject to variation – due to sitcom blocks that typically air in those timeslots); this is in stark contrast to its existence as a superstation, when movies also filled late morning, early afternoon and prime time slots on weekdays. TBS broadcasts movies from sister companies Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, along with films produced by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures.
In the recent past, TBS had frequently aired its prime time movies interspersed with other content and commentary (for example, Dinner and a Movie included cooking segments, while Movie and a Makeover featured fashion content); these wraparound segments later moved to weekend afternoon film presentations, before being dropped entirely by 2011. Since 1997, TBS has broadcast the 1983 film A Christmas Story in a 24-hour marathon from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, which also runs simultaneously on sister channel TNT. Once each weekend, TBS airs a movie in prime time with limited commercial interruption, branded in promo advertisements under the title "More Movies, Less Commercials" (sister channel TNT also runs a prime time movie each weekend, that is telecast with limited commercial interruption).
Coverage of the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team (which was formerly owned by Ted Turner) was perhaps TBS's signature program, mainly due to its viewer popularity in Georgia and neighboring states. Turner once famously tried to get Andy Messersmith to use his #17 jersey to promote Superstation WTBS in its early years (the back of the jersey read, "CHANNEL 17"). The MLB organization immediately stopped Turner from proceeding with this plan due to league regulations barring team jerseys from incorporating advertising other than that of the jersey's manufacturer.
At the 2006 MLB All-Star Game, it was announced that TBS would begin carrying a television package that includes all major league teams beginning with the 2007 season. TBS began carrying all Division Series games and one of the two League Championship Series (assuming the rights from Fox and ESPN) as well as the announcements of the All-Star teams and any possible games to determine division winners and wild card teams (those were also carried previously on ESPN). In 2008, TBS began airing MLB regular season Sunday games, with the provision that no team may appear on the telecasts more than 13 times during the season.
During the 2007 transitional year, TBS aired 70 regular-season Braves games. In 2008, the number of Braves telecasts was reduced to only 45 games, with TBS's former Atlanta feed, WPCH-TV solely carrying the telecasts; Turner syndicates the package to other television stations and cable channels for broadcast in the remainder of the Braves' designated market area. The final Braves game to be broadcast on TBS aired on September 30, 2007, with the first divisional playoff game airing the following day on October 1, 2007 (when the TBS/WPCH split occurred).
On October 18, 2008, a technical problem at the channel's master control facility in Atlanta prevented TBS from showing the first inning of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays; the channel aired a rerun episode of The Steve Harvey Show instead.
In 2011, TBS obtained the television rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, with broadcast rights shared with CBS, and fellow Turner properties TNT and TruTV. TBS and the other two Turner-owned networks presently broadcast games played in the second and third rounds of the tournament, with TBS alternating coverage with CBS for the Regional Semifinals (Sweet Sixteen). In 2014 and 2015, TBS and CBS split coverage of the Regional Finals (Elite Eight), with TBS gaining the two Saturday evening games and CBS retaining the two Sunday afternoon games. Also in 2014 and 2015, TBS covered the National Semifinals (Final Four). In 2016, TBS will televise the Final Four and the National Championship Game, beginning an alternating agreement with CBS through 2024. In even-numbered years, TBS will have the final three games, and in odd-numbered years, CBS will televise the games.
College football games from the Big 12 and Pac-10 athletic conferences aired on TBS for several years beginning in 2000 through a sub-licensing agreement with Fox Sports. That agreement ended after the 2006 season.
National Basketball Association
NBA basketball games aired on TBS from 1984 until the broadcast rights were moved entirely to TNT in 2002. Some games from the Atlanta Hawks (which were also owned by Turner) were shown on TBS until the telecasts on TNT and the TBS superstation feed became subject to blackout within 35 miles of the home team's arena; this restriction was dropped when TNT gained the right to be the exclusive broadcaster of any game it chose to carry.
Select NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races aired on TBS until the 2000 season. For several years in the late 1990s, the only Cup races aired on TBS were the two regular Cup series races from Lowe's Motor Speedway (TBS did not have rights to The Winston, which usually aired on TNN), and the July race at Pocono Raceway. TBS was also the home of the post-season exhibition races held at Suzuka Circuit and the Twin Ring Motegi tracks in Japan from 1996 to 1998. NASCAR events moved to TNT in 2001 as part of a deal between the organization, NBC and TNT, although the initial plans were for TBS to carry the races. Instead, Turner Broadcasting decided that the NASCAR telecasts would better fit TNT's "We Know Drama" image campaign.
Beginning towards the fall of 2018, TBS will begin to carry the UEFA Champions League, likely with TNT and TruTV, as part of a three-year agreement between Turner Sports and UEFA under a three-year deal, replacing a long-term agreement with Fox Sports for American rights to Europe's main soccer club competition.
Professional wrestling aired from 1971 to 2001 under several different wrestling promotions including Jim Barnett-owned Georgia Championship Wrestling (1971–1984), Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (1984–1985), Bill Watts's Mid-South Wrestling, and Jim Crockett, Jr.'s Jim Crockett Promotions (1985–1988), which eventually became Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling (1988–2001). Through the early 1990s, the wrestling programs and Braves baseball were among basic cable's highest-rated offerings, due to heavy viewership in the Southeast.
On September 23, 2015, Turner Broadcasting announced that it is planning a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league beginning in 2016. There is also the possibility of other video games being added in future seasons. This has not been the first time TBS has carried video game-centric programming; it carried the game show Starcade from 1982 to 1983 (with a further run in syndication via Turner Program Services until 1984), where people competed to win their very own arcade cabinet by playing various games.
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- Official website
- www.turner.com - Turner Broadcasting System official website
- Clips of 17 Update Early in the Morning maintained by former anchor Bill Tush