Financial Career

Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting Systems
Creating Cable Television

Ted Turner
Mike and cable TV pioneer Ted Turner.
Skeptics had a field day when Ted Turner set out to break the monopoly of network television in 1970. And to think someone would try to do so by acquiring a nearly bankrupt Atlanta television station?

But six years later — just one year before 'The Ted' captained the 12-meter yacht Courageous to win the America’s Cup — Turner Broadcasting Systems beamed its inaugural program via satellite. TBS Superstation (then WTCG) became the first U.S. television outlet to broadcast 24-hour-a-day programming for cable TV.

In 1980, when Turner decided to launch a 24-hour news channel — Cable News Network (CNN) — the maverick turned to Mike Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert. This time, doubters said it was impossible to provide TV news around the clock, and, furthermore, that no upstart could compete with the august network news. But not only did CNN compete; it now reaches virtually every television wired for cable in the U.S. - and countless more around the globe.

Turner and Milken worked together again in 1986 when Turner paid $1.3 billion for the MGM Entertainment Company’s film library. Featuring 3,301 feature films (including such classics as Gone with the Wind), the MGM Library provided thousands of hours of programming and helped successfully launch Turner Network Television (TNT).

Today, Turner Broadcasting System is the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry and a major producer of news and entertainment products that include CNN, TNT, Turner Classic Movies and more.