Turner became Vice Chairman of Time Warner in October 1996, with the merger of Time Warner Inc. and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Turner oversaw Time Warner's Cable Networks division, which included the assets of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), the CNN Newsgroup, as well as Home Box Office, Cinemax, and the company's interests in Comedy Central and Court TV. He also oversaw New Line Cinema and the company's professional sports teams - the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers.
Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 19, 1938. When he was nine years old, his family moved to Savannah, Georgia. Turner then attended the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1948 to 1956. He received a degree from Brown University, where he was vice president of the Debating Union and commodore of the Yacht Club. In 1999, he was elected to Brown University's board of directors.
Turner began his business career as an account executive for Turner Advertising Company (now Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.), and in 1963, became president and chief operating officer, a position he held until the company's merger with Time Warner in 1996. Turner entered the television business in 1970 with the purchase of Channel 17, an Atlanta independent UHF television station. Six years later, in January 1976, Turner diversified the company by purchasing Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves. Later that same year, on December 17, he originated the 'Superstation' concept, transmitting the station's signal to cable systems nationwide via satellite. In January 1977, TBS acquired the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks.
On June 1, 1980, Turner inaugurated CNN, the world's first live, in-depth, round-the-clock news television network. A second all-news service, Headline News, began operation on January 1, 1982, offering updated newscasts every half-hour. Launched in September 1985, CNN International serves as the company's global news service and is distributed in more than 212 countries and territories worldwide.
Turner originated the Goodwill Games in 1985 as an international, world-class, quadrennial, multi-sport competition. The inaugural Goodwill Games were held in July 1986 in Moscow and were followed by the 1990 Games in Seattle, Washington, the 1994 Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, the 1998 Games in New York City, the first winter games in Lake Placid, New York in 2000, and most recently, the 2001 summer games in Brisbane, Australia.
In March 1986, TBS acquired the MGM library of film and television properties. This library formed the initial programming cornerstone of TNT, which was launched on Oct. 3, 1988. Versions of TNT are customized for Latin America and the Caribbean, with programming available in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
In December 1991, Turner acquired the rights, library and production facilities of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Cartoon Network, launched on October 1, 1992, showcases the company's vast library of cartoons and original productions. Cartoon Network in Latin America was launched on April 30, 1993, offering viewers in Latin America and the Caribbean 24 hours of cartoons in three languages. TNT & Cartoon Network were launched in Europe on September 17, 1993, offering classic films and animation programming in seven languages. TNT & Cartoon Network in Asia Pacific, launched October 6, 1994, provides programming in English, with some programs dubbed or subtitled in Mandarin and Thai.
In January 1994, Turner Broadcasting merged with New Line Cinema. Films from New Line and the combined Turner and Warner Bros. library of film greats provide programming for Turner Classic Movies (TCM), a 24-hour commercial-free network launched in April 1994.
Turner Broadcasting continued to expand its news and entertainment divisions with the creation of CNNRadio and CNN Airport Network, which provides programming for airline travelers in U.S. airports, and CNN.com, the division responsible for multimedia/on-line news production and distribution. CNN en Español, which was launched on March 17, 1997, offers 24-hour Spanish-language news to viewers throughout the Americas. Turner Classic Movies, Turner Network Television, Turner South and Boomerang all launched at various times throughout the years and provide entertainment programming for all ages and genders.
Turner is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including being named Time magazine's 1991 Man of the Year and Cable and Broadcasting's Man of the Century in 1999. Turner was inducted into the Cable TV Hall of Fame in 1999, and in June 2000 he received the World Ecology Award from the University of Missouri. He is also a superior yachtsman, having won national and world sailing titles, including a successful defense of the 1977 America's Cup, the 1979 Fastnet Trophy and four Yachtsman of the Year awards. In October 1995, Turner accepted the Atlanta Braves' first World Championship trophy on behalf of the team. In August 2000, he was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame.
Turner has made his mark as one of the most influential philanthropists in the U.S. He directs most of his philanthropic activities through Turner Foundation, Inc. (turnerfoundation.org), which was founded in 1991, the United Nations Foundation (unfoundation.org), which was created in 1997, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (nti.org), which was launched in January 2001.
Turner is Chairman of Turner Foundation, Inc. (TFI), which grants up to $50 million annually to support the following efforts: 1) clean water and toxics reduction; 2) clean air through improved energy efficiency and renewables; 3) wildlife habitat protection; and 4) the development of equitable practices and policies designed to reduce population growth rates.
TFI has made grants to hundreds of organizations including: Advocates for Youth, Alliance for Affordable Energy, American Bird Conservancy, Coosa River Basin Initiative, Global Green USA, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Montana Land Reliance, National Audubon Society, National Public Radio, National Safe Energy Communications Council, Pacific Rivers Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Sierra Club Foundation, Union of Concerned Scientists, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and the World Watch Institute. In addition, the Turner Community Youth Development Initiative has given almost $2 million in support of locally designed youth development programs in 30 rural communities near Turner's properties. Since 1991, the Turner Foundation has given more than $152 million.
The Turner Endangered Species Fund is a core grantee of the Turner Foundation, which works to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing efforts on private land, particularly on the Turner properties. Endangered species that have been reintroduced or restored include black-footed ferrets, condors, desert bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, Mexican wolves, red-cockaded woodpeckers and West Slope cutthroat trout.
In September 1997, Turner announced his historic gift of $1 billion over ten years to the United Nations Foundation (UNF). To date, the organization has granted more than $437 million in support of the goals and objectives of the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. UNF has identified four core priorities: women and population; children's health; the environment; and peace and security.
In early 2001, Turner launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a foundation he co-chairs with former Senator Sam Nunn. NTI is working to close the growing and increasingly dangerous gap between the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the global response.
The Initiative is a place of common ground where people with different ideological views can work together to make real and significant progress to reduce the risk of use and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. NTI is committed to increasing public awareness, encouraging dialogue, catalyzing action and promoting new thinking about reducing the danger from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on a global basis. Turner has pledged at least $250 million to the organization.
Through Turner Enterprises, Turner manages the largest commercial bison herd in North America, with approximately 27,000-head spread amongst his 14 ranches in Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. In addition, Turner owns property in California, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Argentina. The mission of Turner Enterprises is: to manage Turner lands in an economically sustainable and ecologically sensitive manner while promoting the conservation of native species.
In June 2001, Turner announced the creation of an independent film production company, based in Atlanta, which produces both theatrical films and documentaries. Ted Turner Documentaries is currently in production on an eight-hour documentary series, Avoiding Armageddon, about weapons of mass destruction that will be released in 2003.
In January 2002, Turner opened the first Ted's Montana Grill in Columbus, Ohio with his partner, George W. McKerrow Jr., founder of the Longhorn Steakhouse chain and several other successful restaurants. Ted's Montana Grill offers classic American comfort food, including bison or beef burgers, in an authentic Montana bar and grill atmosphere. Ten more restaurants will open in the next few years in Atlanta, Columbus, Denver and Nashville.
Turner also enjoys several outdoor sports, especially hunting and fishing.
Ted Turner Facts
|Birth Name||Robert Edward Turner III|
|Also known as||R.E. Turner|
|Birthday||November 19, 1938 (80)|
|Birthplace||Cincinnati, Ohio, USA|