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Robert Osborne Introductions Return for TCM’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, TCM on April 14 will present a 24-hour marathon of films with historical introductions from Robert Osborne and throughout the month feature programming with other staffers who started with the channel, it was announced Thursday.

For more than 22 years until his death in March 2017, the revered Osborne served as TCM’s primetime host, bringing millions of viewers into the world of classic cinema he knew as an actor mentored by Lucille Ball, as an Oscar historian and as a longtime The Hollywood Reporter reviewer and columnist.

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“How many other channels on television celebrate their anniversary? How many other channels’ fans know where they were the day a network launched?” Ben Mankiewicz, who took over for Osborne, said in a statement. “I’m not sure either of those things are true without Robert Osborne.

“He’s the Walter Cronkite of TCM. The Johnny Carson. The Alex Trebek. With these intros of Robert’s, we’re celebrating his impact and his continued influence. Plus, as we do with the movies we show, we’ll put Robert into context.”

When Ted Turner’s TCM debuted as a competitor to the American Movie Classics cable channel on April 14, 1994, Osborne was there to introduce Gone With the Wind. That introduction and a screening of the 1939 classic will be a centerpiece of the celebration.

The host also will be seen setting up films with the likes of Sally Field, Drew Barrymore and Kermit the Frog as TCM hosts Mankiewicz, Dave Karger, Jacqueline Stewart, Eddie Muller and Alicia Malone weigh in.

Every Thursday in April, Karger, Malone and Mankiewicz also will welcome TCM “legacy” employees as guest programmers as part of “The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: 30 Years of TCM.” They range from the channel’s first president (Brad Siegel) to a teleprompter operator (Sandi Winslow).

A new shortform original featuring interviews with 15 veterans who had a hand in the early development and launch of TCM also will air in April. It will include clips from vintage promos, introductions, marketing campaigns and hosted segments.

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