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Ted Turner, American entrepreneur, television producer, CNN, Ted Turner Biography,

Ted Turner: The Visionary Behind CNN and a Media Mogul

Ted Turner (born November 19, 1938, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.) is an American broadcasting entrepreneur, philanthropist, sportsman, and environmentalist who founded a media empire that includes several influential television channels, most notably CNN.

Ted Turner

Early Life
Ted Turner grew up in an affluent family; his father owned a successful billboard-advertising company. In 1956, Turner enrolled at Brown University but was expelled three years later, reportedly for having a woman in his dormitory room. Turner joined the family business in Atlanta and became the general manager of one of its branch offices in 1960. After his father’s suicide in 1963, Turner took over the struggling business and restored it to profitability.

Building a Media Empire
In 1970, Turner purchased a financially troubled UHF television station in Atlanta. Within three years, he made it one of the few truly profitable independent stations in the United States. In 1975, Turner’s company became one of the first to use a new communications satellite to broadcast his station (later renamed WTBS, or TBS, the Turner Broadcasting System) to a nationwide cable television audience, greatly increasing revenues. Turner renamed his business Turner Communications Company to reflect its shift from billboards, and in 1979, it became Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Turner created two other highly successful and innovative cable television networks: CNN (Cable News Network; 1980), the first 24-hour news channel, and TNT (Turner Network Television; 1988). He also purchased the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team in 1976 and the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team in 1977. In 1986, he bought the MGM/UA Entertainment Company, which included Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s library of more than 4,000 films. Turner faced significant backlash when he authorized the “colorizing” of some of the library’s black-and-white films.

The large debt burden from these acquisitions forced Turner to sell parts of his empire, though he retained control of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and kept the MGM movie library. In 1991, he married actress-activist Jane Fonda; they divorced in 2001.

In the 1990s, Turner expanded his media empire by creating the Cartoon Network (1992) and Turner Classic Movies (1994). He also oversaw the purchase of two motion-picture production companies, New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment, in 1993. In 1996, Time Warner Inc. acquired Turner Broadcasting System for $7.5 billion, making Turner vice-chairman of Time Warner and head of all its cable television networks. After Time Warner merged with AOL in 2001, Turner became vice-chairman and senior adviser of AOL Time Warner Inc. He resigned in 2003 and announced in 2006 that he would not seek reelection to its board of directors.

Philanthropy, Conservation, and Sports
Turner is a noted philanthropist and environmentalist. In 1998, he donated $1 billion to establish the United Nations Foundation, and in 2001, he created the Nuclear Threat Initiative to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction. His Turner Foundation, established in 1990, provided extensive funding to conservation efforts. Turner is one of the largest landowners in the United States, with many of his ranches involved in sustainability and ecotourism. He has overseen efforts to rebuild the country’s bison herd and cofounded Ted’s Montana Grill in 2002, which boasts the world’s largest bison menu. Turner also cocreated and cowrote the animated children’s series Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–96), centered on teenage environmental activists.

As an avid sportsman, Turner is especially known as a yachtsman, piloting Courageous to win the America’s Cup in 1977. He also founded and sponsored the Goodwill Games (1986–2001) to ease Cold War tensions through athletic competition.

Honors and Later Life
Turner has received numerous honors, including a Peabody Award in 1997 and the Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute in 2006. In April 2007, Junior Achievement inducted Turner into its U.S. Business Hall of Fame. Turner released his autobiography, Call Me Ted, in 2008.

In 2018, Turner announced that he had been diagnosed with Lewy body dementia.

Net Worth: $250 million USD


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