No. of subscribers: 75 million
Network topper: Steve Koonin
Programming topper: Charles Tabesh
Top originals: Private Screenings, The Essentials
Upcoming originals: Brando (special), Spielberg on Spielberg (special)
The skinny: TCM has just lost its exec VP and G.M. Tom Karsch, who had run the network since 1994, a year after it was founded. In an amicable separation, Karsch resigned and will stay on until TCM replaces him. TCM has earned its reputation as the best movie network in the business by, among other things, not accepting any outside advertising, by running pristine prints of its movies and by letterboxing every picture filmed with a widescreen camera. One worry is that pressure might come from Time Warner corporate to change TCM’s commercial-free policy, forcing the network to sign advertisers, a strategy that could end up funneling more than $100 million a year to the bottom line. The purists would regard such a move as despicable. TCM might make lots more money, but the change would destroy its cachet, relegating it to the ranks of just another movie channel.