Turner, Ted

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Turner, Ted

(Robert Edward Turner 3d), 1938–, American television network executive, b. Cincinnati. After inheriting his father's billboard company, he founded (1976) a television station, WTBS, and built it into the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). He pioneered "superstation" broadcasting, in which a TV station provides programming via satellite to cable systems nationwide. In 1980 he established the Cable News Network (CNN), television's first 24-hour news channel, which was first met with skepticism and is now a broadcasting fixture; in 1988 he added TNT, a movie channel, and in 1992, the Cartoon Network. After his failed attempt to purchase the CBS network, Turner bought the MGM/UA Entertainment Company, gaining a vast library of film classics. TBS also offered sports programming after acquiring the Atlanta Braves baseball team (1976) and a holding in the Atlanta Hawks basketball team (1977). In 1996, TBS merged with Time Warner Inc. Turner became vice chairman of Time Warner in charge of the TBS subsidiary, a position he held until he became a vice chairman (2000–2003) of AOL Time Warner. In 1997, Turner announced he would give $1 billion to United NationsUnited Nations
(UN), international organization established immediately after World War II. It replaced the League of Nations. In 1945, when the UN was founded, there were 51 members; 193 nations are now members of the organization (see table entitled United Nations Members).
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 programs; he also has underwritten a number of other programs devoted to international understanding and peace and the environment. A competitive sailor and sports enthusiast, he won the America's Cup yachting race in 1977. He was married to Jane FondaFonda, Jane,
1937–, American actress, b. New York City; daughter of Henry Fonda and sister of Peter Fonda. First cast in pert and sexy roles, she later distinguished herself in dramatic parts, often as a tough and disillusioned woman.
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 from 1991 to 2001.


See J. Lowe, ed., Ted Turner Speaks (1999); biographies by P. Bibb (1993) and K. Auletta (2004).

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Turner, (Robert Edward III) Ted

(1938–  ) communications tycoon; born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Expelled from Brown University for having women in his room, he took over the family's Atlanta-based billboard enterprise in 1963 after his father's suicide and began building his media empire. In 1970 he bought an independent Atlanta UHF station and built it into the first satellite-transmitted superstation. His programming strategy was based on sports broadcasts of the Atlanta Braves and Hawks, the baseball and basketball teams he owned. He developed the Cable News Network, turning it into a worldwide news network with 24-hour coverage. In the late 1980s he created Turner Broadcasting System, the first new network since the advent of public television in the 1960s, as well as a cable service, Turner Network Television. A man of boundless energy and ambitious ideals—an accomplished sailor, he set himself the goal of winning the America's Cup and did so in 1977—he set out to improve relations with the then U.S.S.R. by establishing the Goodwill Games in 1985 and later turned his attention to promoting environmental issues. His third marriage in 1991 was to movie star Jane Fonda, and the impact of his various enterprises was such that Time named him "Man of the Year" that year.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.