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Network Description & Basic Information (Source:

TBS (formerly known as TBS Superstation) is a popular American cable TV network that shows sports and variety programming. It is currently owned by Time Warner.

TBS, which originally stood for Turner Broadcasting System, was originally WTCG, a UHF terrestrial television station owned by media mogul Ted Turner that broadcasted from Atlanta, Georgia, during the late 1970s. WTCG reportedly stood for "watch this channel grow" (though the "TCG" officially stood for Turner Communications Group, the forerunner to Turner Broadcasting System).

At 1 p.m. on December 17, 1976, WTCG Channel 17's signal was beamed via the Satcom 1 satellite to its four cable systems in Grand Island, Nebraska; Newport News, Virginia; Troy, Alabama; and Newton, Kansas. All four cable systems started receiving the sleepy 1948 Dana Andrews–Cesar Romero film Deep Waters that was already in progress. The movie had started 30 minutes earlier. WTCG went from being a little television station no one was watching to a major TV network that every one of the 24,000 households outside of the 675,000 in Atlanta was receiving coast-to-coast. WTCG became a so-called Superstation and created a precedent of today's basic cable television.

HBO had gone to satellite transmissions to distribute its signal nationally in 1975, but that was a service cable subscribers were made to pay extra to receive. Ted Turner's innovation signaled the start of the basic cable revolution.

WTCG was re-launched in 1979 as WTBS. The new call letters were purchased with an equipment donation to the MIT student radio station, now WMBR.

The channel 17 transmitter is located at 1018 West Peachtree Street NW, with antenna located on a large self-supporting tower. The building at this site was once home to the studios of WAGA (TV) and later channel 17 as WJRJ. Soon after being purchased by Turner, the studios were moved to the former Progressive Club site a few blocks west.

Throughout the 1980s to the early '90s, TBS also carried the Electra teletext service on its VBI. Electra was discontinued in 1993 due to a lack of funding.

Currently, the focus of TBS is comedy related, focusing on sitcoms and originally produced reality series, using the slogan "Very Funny." It is intended as a direct contrast to sister network TNT.

One type of programming that TBS does not produce or broadcast is news. Nevertheless, TBS did produce a twenty-minute newscast from 1975 to 1979. The program, entitled 17 Update Early in the Morning, was taped at the end of the workday and aired around 3 AM or 4 AM EST between movies. Its format is similar to SNL's Weekend Update and, to a certain extent, Comedy Central's The Daily Show.


TBS airs movies, mostly of the comedy genre due to its format. It is often criticized for its sometimes poor and/or obvious censoring and editing of some movies.


Several sports do and have aired on TBS. Ted Turner owned Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team. College football games are also aired. National Basketball Association games were aired before being moved to Turner Network Television. Wrestling aired on TBS from 1971-2001 under several different companies including Jim Barnett owned Georgia Championship Wrestling, future rival Vince McMahon owned WWE, Jim Crockett, Jr.'s NWA promotion, and Turner owned World championship Wrestling.

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