HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 13: (L-R) Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson speak onstage during the opening night gala and world premiere of the 4k restoration of "Rio Bravo" during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 13, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TCM)

Spielberg, Scorsese and PT Anderson say their meeting with David Zaslav left them ’emboldened’ about TCM future

After all the uproar over the senior management firings of Turner Classic Movies, which saw the ousting of longtime executives who had been instrumental in bringing the brand to the level of adoration its fans feel for it, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson is here to strike a note of restraint.

In a joint statement released via Spielberg’s production company Amblin, the three filmmakers go out of their way to praise Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

“Turner Classic Movies has always been more than just a channel,” the statement read. “It really is a valuable cinematic resource, open 24/7. And while it’s never been a financial behemoth, it’s always been a profitable endeavor since its inception.

“Earlier this week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav got in touch to talk about the restructuring of TCM. We understand the pressures and realities of a company as large as WBD, of which TCM is a moving part.

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“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 main goal is to ensure that TCM programming is intact and secure.

“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 cultural touchstone we all treasure.”

As for what that could mean: bigger plans for the brand involving filmmakers? – more than TCM’s survival is at stake. TCM was shaped into what it is thanks to passionate cinephiles in executive roles. A brand is powered by the people who work on it day after day. What follows will be, at the very least, a different TCM.

Consider what film writer and journalist Mark Harris tweeted today: “David Zaslav might respond by saying, ‘But we don’t abandon TCM.’ But TCM isn’t just a library, it’s a small, intense, exceptional talent pool. It is not defined simply by its content, but by the people who curate and nurture it. This goes for all the big cultural brands”.