The channel launched at 8: Eastern Time on Monday, October 3, with a pre-recorded performance of The Star Spangled Banner , which traditionally played during the launch of a new Turner-owned network. Its inaugural telecast was the first half the classic film Gone with the Wind , a film which TNT founder Ted Turner had acquired the rights; the second half aired the following night at the same time, and then shown in its entirety that Sunday.
It was said that the movie was chosen as the channel's first program because it was Turner's favorite movie. It would also serve as the first program aired on sister channel Turner Classic Movies , when it debuted in April Incidentally, Gone With the Wind had its premiere held in Atlanta , Georgia , Turner's hometown and the headquarters of the channel's corporate parent, Turner Broadcasting System. The city served as the setting for the film. TNT was initially a vehicle for older movies and television shows, but slowly began to add original programming and newer reruns.
When TNT began broadcasting older film releases from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library acquired by Turner as a result of his sale of the MGM film studio to Kirk Kerkorian, the channel caused controversy due to its airings of colorized versions of many classics that were originally filmed in black-and-white. At one point, Monday Nitro was regularly the highest- rated weekly program on cable television[ citation needed ]. One such program was MonsterVision , a Saturday night B movie showcase that aired from to Often the series had special themes, such as "Godzilla Bash '94", which was an all-day marathon of Godzilla movies.
This running joke culminated in a Friday the 13th all-night Halloween marathon in , where it was implied that Ted Turner was out to kill him.
Most of the animated series and shorts that were dropped would also serve as the core of Boomerang , a cable channel devoted to classic cartoons that launched on April 1, The New Adventures of Superman and Babylon 5. In , TNT took over production of the fifth and final season of Babylon 5 from the Prime Time Entertainment Network after the ad-hoc syndication block ceased operations. The following year, TNT produced the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade , which was canceled after 13 episodes, as TNT management decided that science fiction did not fit the channel's brand identity.
In , TNT debuted what became its most successful original series at the time, Witchblade , which ran for two seasons, ending in On January 1, , TNT launched a substitute feed called TNT Plus, although it does not appear this was ever reflected in the channel's on-air identity. The apparent sole purpose of its establishment was to force renegotiations with cable and satellite providers to increase carriage fees to help pay for TNT's new NBA and NASCAR contracts well before the channel's distribution agreements with providers were scheduled to come up for renewal.
The "We Know Drama" tagline remained, but the channel added more of a focus on its original series and announced plans to carry three nights of original programming a week during primetime, starting in The branding campaign reflects the channel's refocusing towards action-adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, suspense series alongside its slate of crime dramas.
List of programs broadcast by TNT U. TV channel TNT currently airs a mix of original drama and reality series , and reruns of dramas that originally aired on the major broadcast networks. TNT maintains movie licensing agreements with sister company Warner Bros. Since the launch of Turner Classic Movies, TNT's movie lineup has shifted away from classic films outside of special airings of films such as The Wizard of Oz which is aired each November around Thanksgiving weekend , in favor of more recent films released from the s onward, with an emphasis on films released after Presently, most of the films broadcast on TNT are of the drama and action genres, however some comedy films continue to air on the channel periodically.
Movies generally air on the channel during the overnight hours on most nights and for much of the day on weekends. The marathon ran simultaneously on sister channel TBS until , when the annual event became exclusive to that channel. However, as of , TNT has begun airing the movie for 24 hours once again. Once each weekend, TNT airs a movie in primetime with limited commercial interruption, branded in on-air promos under the title "More Movies, Less Commercials".
TNT and the other two Turner-owned channels involved in the deal presently each hold partial rights to games played in the second and third rounds of the tournament. CBS and TBS began airing alternate coverage of the regional semifinals, regional finals , the Final Four and national championship in In the and playoffs it carried seven pre-scheduled Division Series games in full before Major League Baseball decided to use MLB Network in future years in a shift of scheduling to allow more night game carriage.
From that point on, TNT shared broadcast rights with TBS, which initially only aired game telecasts from the Atlanta Hawks , which Turner had purchased from Atlanta-based real estate developer Tom Cousins in , before expanding its NBA coverage to include games from other teams within the league.
In the early s, some Hawks game telecasts shown on TNT and TBS became subject to blackout within 35 miles of the home team's arena. This restriction was dropped in , allowing TNT the right to be the exclusive broadcaster of any game it chose to carry. The NFL on TNT consisted of three or four preseason game broadcasts and telecasts of regular season games during the first half of each season until Abiding by NFL broadcasting rules, TNT distributed its game telecasts to broadcast television stations in the local markets of the teams playing in that week's game.
The rights have been held since , and the current contract with the PGA of America is through The agreement signed with the Argentine Football Association stated that most of the matches would be broadcast by a pay-per-view system.