AOL Time Warner put an emphatic end to the Ted Turner
era yesterday - clearing the last remnants of the cable
tycoon's team out of Turner Broadcasting.
The media and Internet giant replaced Turner's most loyal
and trusted colleague, Turner Broadcasting Chairman
Terence McGuirk, with one of their own: WB network
founder Jamie Kellner.
They have even turned Turner out of the building. While
Turner is still vice chairman of AOL Time Warner and a
senior adviser, he spends most of his time now at the
separate Turner Enterprises offices, where he handles his
pet projects, colleagues say. While McGuirk said he will
stay on and assume an advisory role as vice chairman of
Turner Broadcasting, his No. 2 - Turner President and
COO Steven Heyer - said he is leaving to pursue other
The Financial Times reported that Heyer is expected to be
named the new head of Coca-Cola's business ventures
unit, citing people close to the situation.
AOL Time Warner announced it would create a new TV
networks group within its Turner Broadcasting System that
will include both Turner's cable networks - the TBS
Superstation, TNT, the Cartoon Network, Turner Classic
Movies, CNN and CNNfn - and the WB.
All the networks will share advertising, marketing and
Kellner will have overall responsibility for all news,
entertainment, programming, advertising and distribution
And in yet another blow to Turner, Kellner will also take
control of his beloved sports franchises - the Atlanta
Braves baseball team, the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta
The boyish 53-year-old Kellner, credited with helping
create the Fox network and creating the WB, told The
Post yesterday he feels that, while "the cable company
works" - there is still room for growth.
He said he was behind the idea of re-branding CNNfn to
CNN Money - and "leveraging Time Warner's magazine
assets with AOL's Internet assets." He insisted the benefits
of the recent executive and programming shake-up at
CNN, which resulted in about 400 layoffs, will soon come
Kellner noted that one of his top priorities will be to
aggressively promote and market the changes at CNN.
"They made a number of changes that are just starting now
- you've got to be patient," he said.
In an internal memo to all Turner employees, McGuirk said
that after 28 years at Turner, "I am now comfortable
making a professional decision that will lead to greater
balance between my personal interests and those of my
AOL Time Warner co-COO Bob Pittman said he and
McGuirk had been discussing ways to get the WB and
Turner Networks closer together.
AOL Time Warner's move to shake-up the Turner empire
pleased Wall Street analysts, who said the Turner cable
networks were showing signs of age.
AOL Time Warner shares shot up on the news, jumping
$2.74 to $46.54.
Reese Schonfeld, the founding president of CNN and
author of the book on the history of the network, "Me and
Ted Against the World," said the moves have Bob
Pittman's stamp all over them.
"All these things have been a thumbing of the nose at Ted,"
Schonfeld said. "McGuirk was Ted's sixth child - the last
vestige of Ted's staff."
"Terry's chief asset was his utter loyalty to Ted Turner. But
with Ted gone - it was only natural that he would leave."
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