While much of Hollywood’s top brass couldn’t care less about the craft of filmmaking and preservation of the very medium that is responsible for their positions in the first place, few executives have become so widely, unanimously despised so immediately as David Zaslav. With a sole focus on profits, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO has gutted both his streaming libraries and canceled films that were near-completion, while also denigrating his flagship HBO brand in the unveiling of Max, a streaming service that gives more prominence to Naked and Afraid and Dr. Pimple Popper than TCM and Studio Ghibli. He even lambasted his execs for financially supporting Clint Eastwood––a director who has delivered numerous hits for WB––simply because Cry Macho wasn’t profitable.

This week, the multi-millionaire exec hit a new professional low when it comes to respecting the culture of cinema, laying off Turner Classic Movies’ executive VP and general manager Pola Changnon; senior VP of programming and content strategy, Charles Tabesh; VP of brand creative and marketing Dexter Fedor; VP of enterprises and strategic partnerships and director of TCM Film Festival Genevieve McGillicuddy; and VP of studio production Anne Wilson.

Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson, three of the channel’s biggest champions and some of the only remaining notable directors who seem to give a damn about protecting and preserving a century-worth of filmmaking culture (for a flip side of the coin, read the Russos waxing poetic about the possibilities of A.I.-generated filmmaking), thankfully immediately got Zaslav on the phone. Amblin has now released a joint statement from the trio:

Turner Classic Movies has always been more than just a channel. It is truly a precious resource of cinema, open 24 hours a day seven days a week. And while it has never been a financial juggernaut, it has always been a profitable endeavor since its inception.

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

We have each spent time talking to David, separately and together, and it’s clear that TCM and classic cinema are very important to him.  Our primary aim is to ensure that TCM’s programming is untouched and protected.

We are heartened and encouraged by the conversations we’ve had thus far, and we are committed to working together to ensure the continuation of this cultural touchstone that we all treasure.

As former TCM employee Marya E. Gates notes, it’s a disappointingly vague statement that feels like coddling PR speak with no actual sense of financial or institutional commitment. Here’s hoping that Zaslav can dedicate the funds to ensure longevity for TCM and its mission to promote and preserve film culture, perhaps from siphoning just some of the profits that he hopes to gain from rebooting Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read the below tweet thread from EW’s Maureen Lee Lenker and a note from Milestone Film’s Dennis Doros, plus a message from TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz and Scott McGee. We’ve also embedded Spielberg and PTA’s conversation from the opening of TCM Classic Film Festival just a few months ago, where they sat with Zaslav on stage as he uttered a few words of commitment to TCM’s mission that now seems like all smoke and mirrors in retrospect. Then again, I suppose we shouldn’t expect much more from the man who called his company’s mega-bomb The Flash the “best superhero movie I’ve ever seen.”

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