Stop! Turner Time!

Jun 19, 2013

I’ve written about some obscure things, but this might take the cake.

Screw Saved By The Bell, Race For Your Life Charlie Brown is coming on in 10 minutes!
Screw Saved By The Bell, Race For Your Life Charlie Brown is coming on in 10 minutes!

Ted Turner has had some pretty weird ideas to promote his TV station, TBS. He tried to get one of the players of his Atlanta Braves to wear the number 17 (the station number for TBS in Georgia) with “channel” as his name. He had the crazy idea of beaming his station onto satellites, resulting cable companies across the country to carry his station because they had nothing better to carry than the station specializing in Leave it To Beaver reruns.

But their’s one gimmick created by Mr. Turner that will go down in history as being super annoying: Turner Time.

The concept of Turner Time was simply to start everything 5 minutes later than everyone else. So everyone while else would start their shows at, say, 8pm, TBS would start theirs at 8:05pm. Like wise, the other network’s show would end at 8:30, the show on TBS wouldn’t end until 8:35.

So what was the purpose of this other than just being a pain in the ass? Well, here’s the theories that Turner had:

Channel Surfers would not be able decide right away on the top of the hour what they wanted to watch. By the time they made it through the entire program guide the only that wouldn’t have started already would be on TBS.

The "T" stands for "Total". The "BS" stands for "BS".
The “T” stands for “Total”. The “BS” stands for “BS”.

By ending 5 minutes late, it would be unlikely viewer would watch something on another channel afterwards. Everything else would already be 5 minutes in.

Being the only station doing such stupid scheduling, they would appear by themselves in TV Guide and would stand out.


TBS followed this asinine practice for nearly 20 years, from 1981 to 2000. Perhaps the rise of the TiVo/DVR and fall of TV Guide contributed to the decision to cease the practice. Or maybe somebody figured out it’s poor practice to create annoyances for their customers.

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