Brian Cox is calling out Warner Bros. Discovery over the status of Turner Classic Movies.

Cox, who led WBD’s HBO series “Succession,” penned an essay for Variety about the enduring legacy and necessary presence of TCM. Without naming CEO David Zaslav, Cox criticized “the guy who runs Warner Bros. Discovery now” over the threat of abolishing TCM.

“TCM has been under threat lately, particularly by the guy who runs Warner Bros. Discovery now; they don’t understand the value of it,” Cox wrote. “But TCM is always illuminating, it’s revealing, it’s invaluable as an actor. It’s like mother’s milk to me. I’ll defend it to the death.”

TCM was plagued by layoffs in June 2023 under Zaslav’s appointment. Auteurs Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Paul Thomas Anderson stepped in as volunteers to guide TCM programming and curation as part of a “unique arrangement initiated by David Zaslav” that reflected the WBD CEO’s “commitment to honoring the TCM legacy while also involving us on curation and programming.”

Cox praised TCM, saying, “Today, my comfort is Turner Classic Movies — because it’s not only historical, but it’s about the whole of my craft. I work with a lot of young actors, and I say, ‘Look at your craft. Look at where you can see great work.’ To rediscover people like Irene Dunne, or Kay Francis, or Bette Davis in her glory. I’m an addict; I’m an absolute addict for that.”

Cox concluded, “The films they show meet an extraordinarily high standard, in a world where art is forever getting debased. But TCM is always reinventing itself: It’s modern and it’s classical.”

The Emmy winner previously addressed how “horrified” he was by the approach to TCM by WBD in a Facebook post, which he referenced during an interview with Above the Line.

“The head of Warner Brothers, once they get rid of TCM/Turner Classic Movies, which I think is one of the most vital resources — and certainly Robert Osborne set that up, and the five gals who run it now. I mean, who’s an expert on film? I just love that sense of who we are, where we’ve come from, and our history. It’s vital to me that we see that and live it,” Cox said. “For me, the history of cinema, the watching of it, and the way that TCM presents it are incredible resources because they really make me understand how far we’ve traveled. But also how far we haven’t traveled. You know, we’ve traveled technically, but in terms of the truth of acting, there are no more true players than Spencer Tracy or Katherine Hepburn. And you see them together in what they create, so the cinema has always been vital to me. Absolutely vital.”

Leave a comment