Renowned directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson have united in defense of their beloved TV channel, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), following a string of layoffs orchestrated by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
According to IndieWire, the prestigious filmmakers partook in an "emergency call" with Zaslav to discuss the channel's future and the abrupt dismissal of several key figures, including Genevieve McGillicuddy, the director of the annual TCM Film Festival—an event Spielberg fervently supports.
TCM, cherished for its commitment to airing classic movies, has been the recipient of unwavering support from all three directors. Scorsese often reveals how the channel serves as the backdrop during his film editing sessions, asserting its influence on his creative process.
Spielberg, a longstanding ally of the channel, has devoted considerable time and effort, contributing to numerous documentary shorts and championing the channel whenever possible. The iconic director has often emphasized TCM's uniqueness as one of the few remaining platforms for regular broadcast of older films.
Anderson, likewise, has showcased his admiration for the channel, referring to it as "holy ground."
Zaslav's Layoffs Rock TCM
Unfortunately, this revered sanctuary for cinema lovers recently suffered significant blows as Zaslav implemented broad layoffs, directly impacting TCM's leadership, including general manager Pola Changnon—a dedicated member of the team for 25 years.
This action led to a sizeable portion of the personnel responsible for curating TCM's film library being removed all at once. Zaslav, who has publicly acknowledged his fondness for TCM in the past, now faces the challenging task of defending his cost-cutting measures to a community of some of America's most respected directors.
Adding to this complexity is his objective of re-engaging these same directors, who were previously disillusioned by Warner Bros.' decision during the lockdown to primarily push their film content towards streaming platforms.
This move, perceived as unilateral by many cinephiles, has stirred the hornet's nest, causing this "emergency call" to resound loudly within the film industry.