As AT&T completes its $85 billion purchase of Warner Bros. Entertainment, the blue-lettered Time Warner logo will soon be replaced by the venerable AT&T Globe design unveiled in 2015 to symbolize WB as a production home for familiar motion picture and episodic television faces, ranging from Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and long-time Warner Bros. Pictures mainstay Clint Eastwood to casts of ER, Friends and, most recently, The Middle and Ellen DeGeneres, a Time Warner mainstay who has had the top rated shows on HBO, HDTV and in national 1st-run syndication and the No. 1 chart topping comedy album on former Time Warner-owned recording company Atlantic (which now belongs to Access Industries subsidiary Warner Music Group).
Remember the late Cliff Robertson? Well, the son of Robert endorsed AT&T’s classic television and radio promo ads pitching the tagline “The more you hear, the better we sound” during the 1980s – and now “The Right Choice” continues its acquisitive strategy with the addition of TW properties such as CNN, HLN and the 45-year-old premium pay television network service Home Box Office (HBO), Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television and New Line Cinema, proving WB willing the core center of AT&T’s expanding media business, which, aside from Warner Bros., also includes majority interests in Hulu, Game Show Network (with Sony, which is partnering with Warner Bros. on Blade Runner 2049, which will be the most anticipated sequel in TW history), Otter Media (with Chermin Entertainment’s Peter Chermin) and Fandango (with XFINITY, Universal Pictures, Universal Television, Parks & Resorts, Animation Studios and Partnerships and Licensing parent company Comcast).
I realize the potential I get out of Warner Bros. content, especially The Drew Carey Show, Blue Collar TV, Give ‘N Take, Shadow Chasers, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Without a Trace, I’ll Fly Away, The Blue Knight, Seinfeld and the reboot of the late 1970s heist comedy Going in Style directed by Zach Braff filling in the shoes left by a pre-Beverly Hills Cop Martin Brest. With Warner Bros., AT&T promises me the very best Hollywood has to offer audiences young and old ’round the gigantic blue marble that is Earth; and previously announced 2018 releases such as Meg, the film version of a 20-year-old Steve Alten novel of the same title, are guaranteed to make me entertained more than ever.
But what happens to what will remain of Time Warner? Of course TW traces their origins to magazine publishing, it acquired Warner Communications (which later became WMG) in 1989 and acquired a number of businesses – think the establishment of Jason Flom’s Lave Records in the mid-1990s – and, since then, launched the careers of hitmakers such as Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, Anderson Cooper and WMG acts including newcomers Alanis Morrisette, Matchbox Twenty, Better Than Ezra, Disturbed (a 4-piece neo-metal act who have covered such AM Gold musical gems as “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel and Genesis’s legendary “Land of Confusion”), Josh Groban, and my fearless redneck comedy leader, Jeff Foxworthy. That same decade, TW launched Entertainment Weekly magazine and introduced Extra and TMZ to 1st-run broadcast TV syndication alongside Change of Heart and Fringe.
When AT&T takes on WB, many Warner Bros. Pictures filmmakers continue to remain vital when it comes to creating new blockbuster franchises.
At least Christopher Nolan resurrected the classic Dirk Bogarde film Dunkirk, bringing a war epic to theatre audiences the world over.