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TCM Sucks Without Robert Osborne and Here’s Why.

robert osborne

TCM Sucks Without Robert Osborne and Here’s Why.

If you’ve been wondering why TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES, once perhaps the finest network on cable TV, is starting to stink like a rotten fish, you need look no further than the new faces who are now working there both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.  The new blood seems to have no knowledge of film and no taste in film.  Instead, they subliminally flaunt a sick fixation for focusing on phony diversity, crappy movies, and some really dumb promotional gimmicks.robert osborne

“TCM used to be the TV station you could always turn to when you needed the comfort of a classic film.  It had taste, and standards, and dignity….and it had Robert Osborne,”  said TV writer Dave Matt.   Read about him here. –   Dave M talks about Robert Osborne.

(UPDATE:  ROBERT OSBORNE DIED SHORTLY AFTER THIS WAS WRITTEN)

Nowadays, with Osborne somewhere in the distant horizon –  and no one really knowing what’s going on with him apart from the fact that he’s old — TCM has lost its allure and class, and the only thing that saves it from being just another crappity cable show is that every now and then you get a brief look at someone like Bette Davis or Basil Rathbone or Olivia deHavilland, etc.   The rest of the time you’re watching newer movies laced with profanity or obscure art films that bore you to death.  Yes, these are movies too, and they have their place in the archive of film history, but most of it is pure pretense… and people are tuning out.

ALECBetween moments of cinema greatness, you have to sit through some really stupid stuff simply because a whole bunch of the staff at TCM were laid off.  Someone named Jennifer Dorian stepped in to cover for the whole lot, and she might be partially responsible for the new “getting-shitty” TCM.

We prefer, however, to blame the dip in quality on the politically oriented  hosts and amateur talents who taint the entire concept of what was once TCM.

“Even before Jennifer Dorian, the whole shakeup at TCM,  and the semi-vanishing of Robert Osborne, there were still glimmers of some really shitty things to come on the horizon.”  Excerpt from:   Dave M talks about Robert Osborne.

It all started when Alec Baldwin somehow pushed his way onto the set — and let’s face it — that is what he did.  This big dope, this politically moronic Neanderthal bully, managed to snag a short stint as a co-host alongside Robert Osborne.  It took about 10 minutes for anyone with a brain to figure out that Alec Baldwin knows nothing about movies, and that he’s just an impostor who spouts meaningless cinephile-speak.   He doesn’t even know how to pronounce FILM NOIR properly.   Baldwin makes stuff up as he goes along — which is a sickening propensity shared by a lot of dimwitted celebrities  when they’re not reading lines written for them on a teleprompter.

Alec Baldwin, with poor Robert Osborne noticeably squirming in his seat, authoritatively opined about classic films with descriptions things like:  “You can see here how Hitchcock, in this ‘FILM NEW-ARE’ (film noir)  was coaxing the sweat from your brow and convincing the hair on the back of your neck to stand up.”

Come on, Alex!  Get the f**k out of here!   Thankfully, he’s gone…for the time being.  He’ll probably bully his way back dressed as Donald Trump while talking up movies about American Presidents.   Yes. it might get that dumb over at TCM.  In fact, I predict a full-out politically-slanted image for TCM in the near future.

I have chosen to exclude Sally Field from my list of shitty people on TCM because I think she is mentally sick and I would not want to say something bad about her — except that she is mentally sick in the kind of way where you don’t have to feel bad about mocking.

Another sign of the shitty decline which didn’t really show itself until the Presidential election of 2016, is the fact that Ben Mankiewicz, the guy who stepped up to do weekends a few years ago, and seemed to be somewhat tolerable, has turned out to be just another Hollywood Liberal Turd with his stupid and “nobody-is-watching” Young Turks news program.

BENMankiewicz sat at the Young Turks News Desk ( if you can call it that)  on election night along with his panel of totally untalented, uninteresting and utterly unlikable cast of young Turks and bemoaned the election of Donald Trump.  Of course this was  not related to his duties on TCM, but that kind of moonlighting shit trickles into the whole diorama that is TCM.  

Here’s the thing, Ben:  When a TV show has class, and Hollywood Politics starts to leak in, the viewers flee because the show starts to become coarse.  And, like Hollywood itself, the whole shebang loses its charm and allure.   Because of this Hollywood Politics factor that seems to be knocking at the core of TCM, the show has changed and become…SHTICKY.    Do you know what I mean when I say SHTICKY?  It’s almost as though the commentators should be accompanied by some canned laughter.

Now, to make this all even worse, TCM has aired these new segments where they bring in “viewer” co-hosts, and of course these people have no camera presence and they bore you to death.

There is a solid reason why some people are fans/viewers and some people are on-air hosts.    The fans, for the most part, totally stink as hosts and should not be set before a camera.

It’s all so dumb…but not as dumb as the TCM WINE CLUB.

What merchandising skunk came up with that stupid idea?   “Yes, this hearty Merlot goes great with any Bela Lugosi movie because its dark and dangerous aromas take us back to a bleak  forest….”   Gimme a break already.  It’s so dumb that it’s not even worth writing about.   Please, if you have any dignity at all over at TCM,  get rid of that TCM Wine Club.   You don’t need grapes, you need likable stars – if they’re still alive and functioning – to introduce the films for which they are famous.

Here’s an example:

“They had some nobody introduce THE BAD SEED when they probably could have gotten Patty McCormack herself to introduce the movie.  She’s a very talented and engaging actress — and she is very much still around.  Why do you need some nobody in that seat across from whomever, when the real thing is probably ready, willing and able to not only do the job, and hundreds of thousands will tune in to watch them do it?  

“Hollywood and movies only exist because people get sick of seeing everyday people in their daily lives.  TCM movies are the escape from the fact that, while we love our neighbors, they shouldn’t be on TV introducing films.  

“Of course you can’t dig up most of the dead stars who play in these films, but at least make an effort to recruit some names.  You know what, why don’t you pick up a phone and actually give the job to someone like Patty McCormack or Eve Plumb or a dozen other stars who would fit very nicely on TCM.  There are some classy people out there in Hollywood who would do a great job.” Excerpt from:   Dave M talks about Robert Osborne.

SUMMATION:   Without Robert Osborne – now deceased- Turner Classic Movies is slowly getting shittier and shittier.  Eventually it will have commercials and a reality show.   If you’ve tuned into TCM lately you might hear, “Sorry, wrong number.”  Not the movie – the operator.

71 Comments
  1. Just saw Mankiewicz for the first time on a political panel and was shocked that the guy on the classiest channel has such a classless approach. Maybe the Turner in TCM is more important than we thought. RIP Mr. Osbourne.

  2. Mike made reference to my comment about some to the people whose movies were featured on TCM He must have skipped over excatly what I said about George Sanders. TCm = Turner CLASSIC Movies. Those I cited do not fall into that category. Exception to Marion Davies.

  3. I agree that TCM is spiraling downward after Osborne death. The commercials for Broadway play tickets, Celebrity items being auctioned, wine, and the corkscrews, sunglasses and such, how low can they go. Then the pretentious wine experts that cause me to change channels when they appear. Yes it has gone down hill. What a shame.

  4. It’s only getting worse. I had been a long time watcher and fan. I loved being able to see rare 1930’s or 40’s movies along with the often shown well known films of that era.

    Now TCM has so much more repeats, 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and occasionally 21st Century movies, that can be seen on different channels and easily available for sale, streaming or rental. They are mostly color movies so younger audiences will watch them and other channels will play them.
    The amount of rare 30’s and 40’s movies that are rarely or never shown elsewhere has been cut drastically while still showing the more famous movies of that era (often repeated frequently). Some of the more modern movies they show are not classics but just junk as well (Exorcist 2, $(Dollars), Tentacles). They still occasionally have movies of interest but fewer and far between so that I don’t even bother checking the schedule for them anymore.

    I just looked at the schedule for week Saturday to Friday and they had just 6 1930’s films listed: Errol Flynn’s famous version of Robin Hood, the classic “A Farewell to Arms”, the color epic “The Four Feathers’, the Astaire and Roger’s biggie “Swing Time”, the large scale Busby Berkely musical “Gold Diggers of 1935” and only “The Great Waltz” as a relatively obscure picture (which I really haven’t much interest in)

    When it was time to renew or change my cable last time the stipulation was I had to be able to get TCM on the new provider. Next time that’s not going to be a concern. I may just cancel altogether and subscribe to online services for sports and movies

  5. I’m glad to find a website where my thoughts and feelings about TCM are being echoed. When I saw vermin like David Letterman hosting, I knew TCM was finished. It used to be my favorite channel and the reason that I paid for an upper tier package on Dish Network. With TCM’s new liberal slant and political agenda, I’m cancelling DISH. I hear enough of their lies and don’t need to pay for it.

  6. In response to “Mike”, under no circumstances does Presley qualify for classic movie star status. Neither does Rod Taylor. A “screen presence ” does not a classic movie star make. If you actually comprehended what I said about George Sanders you would know what I said.

  7. I don’t think things are as dire as you say or for the reasons that you say. TCM will never be the same without Robert Osborne’s dapper charm and wit and passion for film history. I think his kind is, unfortunately, gone forever from this earth. The wine club, and its annoying commercials, started in November 2015, when Mr. Osborne was not only alive, but still hosting at TCM. I believe the emphasis on auctions began before that. I know that TCM started having film festivals and cruises around the time or even before Mr. Osborne took extended leave for his health the first time, which was July through November 2011. So TCM appealing to the upper classes started about seven or eight years ago.

    As I am writing this, Tiffany Vasquez has been fired and somebody else is supposed to begin replacing her in March 2018, after the 31 Days of Oscar. I think Alec Baldwin is pretty knowledgeable about classic film. He sure surprised me during his three years on the Essentials with Bob. I think we all agree Eddie M. is a help not a hindrance, but his enthusiasm seems to begin and end with film noir. I do wish Ben didn’t seem to act like introducing a film was his job rather than a passion, as Robert used to do.

    As for the films that are shown. Here’s a link to a Baltimore Sun article from Halloween 1993 talking about TCM going on the air the following April and what it would mean to the – then not so concerned – American Movie Classics channel. The main thing to take away from this article other than AMC never saw what hit them is that TCM, from the beginning, always intended to show films from every era. When they first went on the air their mission included films up to the 80s. Well, 24 years have passed, so they would of course be showing some films from the 2000s at this point. I’ve noticed no lack of B films, films from the 30s and 40s, all of the things that have always made TCM great.

    Also remember that Mr. Osborne was a gay man with a long time partner of 20 years who loved living in New York City. I doubt the last time in his life that he voted he pulled the lever for Mr. Trump. But if your point is that he kept his politics – and even his personal opinions of the stars if they were not favorable – to himself, then I grant you that. Now two links:

    Article announcing TCM’s launch:

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-10-31/features/1993304131_1_ted-turner-turner-classic-classic-movies

    Mr. Osborne lets his hair down about what he really thinks about the stars. Note that this was not released until AFTER his death. I bet he had an agreement with the SAG people to not publicize this until he was deceased.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9MECarU7zM

    A prediction: If TCM goes under it will probably be because AT&T or Warner Brothers or whoever ultimately owns the station cannot see a way to sufficiently monetize it and just snuffs it out. Either that or they will turn it into the profane train wreck that is today’s AMC.

  8. If you insist on watching the movies on TCM, and not TCM per se, and you are sick of puking when the movie is over because you know you’re going to get the wine club and backlot saturation bombing, then simply change the channel or turn off the tv until the next movie starts.

    Just watched Little Women, and my tv is off until Doctor Zhivago begins.

    Cheers!!!

  9. Finally a site where I could voice the disappointment Ive been feeling for years.The same movies over and over The least played in the middle of the night or so early who the heck is up at those hours? And those commercials for Wine ugh yes I change the channel when these efficinados start talking makes me ill.The tours and cruises please.I do watch some movies on demand or I purchase my favorites not from TCM DVD vault of shit.

  10. “Vault of shit” — quote of the year — thank you, Linda
    Damien LeGallienne
    Editor

  11. TCM has evolved in nothing boy a PC, SJW, Feminist estrogen soaked sanitary napkin of a network.
    So sad it once was a great place to enjoy the classics now it is not worth watching! now pair that with a wine

  12. Ya i noticed it went down hill i watched that channel every night all night since 2007 un subscribed jan of 2018, to many repeats and 1990s movies and movies that are all the same ones i had to essays on in highschool a few years ago i dont think there new programming is ment to attract young people becase im 24 more cooler movies years ago then now, sometimes i cheack whats playing, there playing to kill a mocking bird,,,,,agen and some other shit they played 20 times last year, so many repeats of over played stuff, and whats with that one wine women who gets drunk as hell,, on tv

  13. osborne made the channel; now the absurdity of the wine club; group of women whining that there aren’t more women directors… maybe because several openly declare they want to make a movie about women’s issues; imagine the studio exec: so, you want to dismiss at least a third and maybe half of our audience, and i should give you the next blockbuster? and what was your graduating film school film that still runs it’s so good? film noir ok, though eddie can’t stop talking, but what tcm moron slated it sunday morning? just the time to watch guys slap around gals and shoot people; so they moved it, duh, to saturday night, but repeating same inane time next morning? at least they finished with tiffany and her early comment… oh, i was at college and found this channel playing black and white movies at night; there’s an expert (read hispanic for increasingly pc tcm), against osborne’s stories about touring the sewers to see the reality of third man, his passion, respect, history; and they are two-faced about politics: love hanoi jane, and wrote back to me that tcm has nothing to do with politics, only the movies… then they show a series on huac and fawn over the dissenters; they should take a night once in a while- once a week for me- and program is osborne’s picks, with his interviews and intros

  14. I agree with all the comments on this feed! Since Robert O passed away it hasn’t been the same, but happy that Tiffany V is gone! Come on TCM and try to get this right again……sad!!!!!! ??

  15. This article is so SPOT ON! I thought perhaps I was some kind of snob but I’m happy to know I’m not alone. Can’t stand the stupid Wine Club Cheese Board Dino commercial. Would change the channel if nasty Baldwin was talking. That Vasquez made me want to cry she was so amateur. Always plugged my ears with her on. And Frankenstein-Mankewitz lacks any kind of warmth at all although is tolerable. Just wonder why TCM can’t find any talent after lovely Robert Osborne. It’s not an impossible task.

  16. Do away with ALL hosts on TCM… just show the movies… and no more 15-30 minute gaps between movies… JUST SHOW THE MOVIES!!!

  17. I prefer movies from the 40’s and 50’s. not the 60’s and up. I have been wondering where Tiffany Vasquez has been, I was sorry to learn that she had been fired. I enjoyed her very much. She was so thrilled to be part of TCM, very difficult to not feel badly her, I miss her very much. What exactly was her problem!! I found her to be a delightful young lady. Sadly, this has become a very heartless world.

  18. As a life long fan of Golden age of Cinema ( I always say I was born in wrong decade). I’ve watched TCM since beginning.I began collecting classic movie trivia mags news clippings pics at age 8.
    To start on a positive note; I have noticed some improvement so far in 2018 as seemingly going back to showing back to back movies on a star’s birthday..April 3 Doris Day movies. Also Halloween horror movies didn’t extend into all of Nov 2017 like they did in 2016. So kudos for that. I am also delighted not to see Ms Vasquez anymore. How she ever got that job is beyond me. I do agree not a fan of the Wine club non stop promos. I stopped attending TCM FF 3 years ago.I am Canadian & found not worth the cost. I have been told yearly by those who attended first ever film fest and are still attending that it gets less enjoyable every year. Focusing too much on enticing 18-25 yr olds who majority aren’t that interested or knowledgable about classic movies.And having younger stars at festival( Michael Douglas)rather than stars who are still very willing able to attend haven’t been asked. Could be young attendees aren’t familiar with them..who knows.
    Luckily here in Canada we have Silver Screen movie channel which doesn’t show as many movies per day but have been wise to ‘ stick with what works’. Same hosts past 20-25 yrs. My biggest TCM disappointment is seeing movies from late 1980’s -90’s that are available on multiple movie channels which then makes TCM look lazy unqualified in program dept.

  19. Someone had to say it. I feel the need to. I’m glad Damian did.

    I remember when TCM first showed up and ran with (what USED to be) AMC’s charm (a smorgasbord of lovable, thrilling, and artful older movies) and put it on steroids. The thoughtful and insightful introductions by Clooney’s father (Nick) along with Osbourne and others having such a love for the classics and lesser known gems was refreshing, entertaining, informative, insightful, respectful, and lovingly instructive.

    Mankiewicz turned up on weekends (riding in on his daddy’s coat-tails) for the film noir, cult, youthful, and new age crowd. I wasn’t crazy about him, his slot, his films, or his opinions… But I tolerated him for the younger viewer’s sake. I couldn’t expect them to cater to my tastes exclusively and forever. I could share. I understood how they wanted to bring the younger crowd in and expand their audience. I GOT that.

    I looked forward to all the information about each film… both the technical, historical, and even the personal insights and observations they had to share before AND after the movie. I enjoyed learning and soaking up the little tidbits of trivia. I, shamelessly, ate up all the snippets of gossip and behind the scenes goings on… Told in the context of its day.

    But NOW??? What was ONCE the “Harrod’s” of Television Channels… providing excellence in movies and entertainment… has, NOW, become the “Deal Dash” or “Craigslist” of TV… You never know what rock they are going to turn over to find their next provider of commentary “color”… Offering their low budget opinions from their low budget personalities.

    The addition of the TCM Wine Club duo and TCM Backlot have become the epitome just how far in the Bargain Basement they have gone. As bad as Alex Baldwin is… He’s not the worst they are offering today. That, right there, should say enough.

    The Wine couple’s pretentiousness is downright classless and clueless. WHO are they?!?! Who gives a hang about THEIR “preferences” ?!?! Hawking their own cheeses and wines as if they have a “classic”
    reputation we can even believe in OR respect. That woman’s advice and comments on wine and cheese (or popcorn) pairings just grates across my spine. Could she sound any more desperate to sound knowledgeable, hip and highbrow? Is SHE the ONLY one not wise to her putrid air of delusional selfimportance? What a poser… SO annoying and condescending!

    I change the channel between movies LARGELY due to her. I tolerated Mankiewicz, winced during Baldwin, and even buckled in and checked for functioning airbags over Backlot… But you can’t make me choke down this Wine duo. I could have appreciated Dinner and a Movie even a Wine club… But NOT like THIS!!!! They’ve sunk too low!!!

    There are a million OTHER ways to have done what they are trying to do. (Shake the trees for dollars) Why they have sunk THIS low and THIS badly is beyond me. It’s as if the powers in charge are DELIBERATELY trying to destroy the channel’s reputation and run off their faithful viewers in their own (personal) rendition of “The Producers”.

    If they really want to shoot themselves in the foot, leg, heart, head AND wallet… They should stick to what they are doing. Most of the stuff they are showing, theses days, are free (and for good reason) on Amazon Prime. This is NO WAY to compete with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu… whatever and whoever they THINK they are competing with.

    It’s as if Turner hired everyone in their administration and advertising department from JCPenneys.

    I USED to purchase my cable package tier, with TCM as the make or break imperative. Now I just don’t care. It’s become a B-side afterthought and just as irrelevant. Their ideas of “classics” are also B-side drivel. Showing the same 10 or so actual classics is NOT a recipe for enduring success.

    Note to TCM programmers: Gone With The wind, Casablanca, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Singing In The Rain have, actually, become your “commercials” for REALLY bad programming and fund raising. Sparsely integrating so few TRUE classics (over and OVER) with just a bunch of slip-shod black and whites and color films does not constitute a “Classic Movie” channel. Those beauties can’t work miracles and save your station.

    A movie shot in black and white does not (automatically) make it a “classic”. The thirties and forties had their “stinkers” too. I know… You’ve shown them.

    TCM has become an (even more) desperate, political, and classless alternative to PBS. They have (as AMC did long ago) created a huge gap… the perfect opportunity for a REAL tasteful and much needed (now, sadly, missed) classic movie channel to emerge victorious.

    After your inept and incompetent “Rebranding” of TCM… along with your spiraling decline in taste and standards… Try changing it to Turner Colloquial Movies.

  20. So true! Turning points for me were Alec Baldwin who, in my opinion, did not have the class, knowledge, or dignity to sit with Robert Osborne…..even now just turned him off….and Ben Mackiewitz with his snarky (personality) but of course he has famous relatives….and his smirky delivery….Tiffany Vasquez who stood and flapped her hands open for months…never felt any real connection with her and movies…..it’s all so sad. Mr Osborne certainly can’t be replaced, however there are many actual movie actors and FEMALES who could do a fine job. The wine commercials are atrocious….makes my family whine…and if TCM shows movie gems, they often have been at 3 a.m. All these treasures that they must have are surely buried away. So terribly sad….this channel was once our main entertainment go-to!!!!!!!!

  21. IF they are so hell-bent on the kind of audience theyy seem to be courting, now… They can just create a new station… Turner Programming for the Pretentious and PC Channel… Call it The The TP4PP channel… Because that’s about all it has become, at this point.

    Resurrect “CLASSIC” TCM and kill the beast which has taken it’s place!!!

    Here’s an idea… Just put the whole of the first ten or so years of programming… as it WAS… Intros and EVERYTHING… on a loop!!! That should, actually, save them some money even. (ESPECIALLY, IF that’s what this, current, sacrilege is about).

    Put it on a continuous loop… Plain and simple… Leave it!!! DON’T TOUCH IT!!! JUST PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM!!! err… I mean… TCM!!! TaDa!!! Instant Happy and Satisfied Viewers!!! <3 <3 <3

    As far as concerns for any commentary and "offers" that were only relevant, at time they were aired… They can get their kicks, by throwing in an OCCASIONAL wine or cruise ad… Just not the Pretentious Wine Duo… PLEASE!?!!

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