Ted Turner 2020 Bresnan Award Honoree
Environmentalist and Philanthropist
Throughout his career, Ted Turner has received recognition for his entrepreneurial acumen, sharp business skills, leadership qualities, and his unprecedented philanthropy.
Turner began his career as an account executive with Turner Advertising Company and entered the television business in 1970 when he acquired Atlanta independent UHF station channel 17. In 1976, Turner purchased Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves and launched TBS Superstation, originating the “Superstation” concept. The following year, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. acquired the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks, and in 1980 Turner launched CNN, the world’s first live, 24-hour global news network.
Over the next two decades, the company built a portfolio of unrivaled cable television news and entertainment brands and businesses, including CNN Headline News, CNN International, TNT, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies. In the mid-’90s, Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema became Turner Broadcasting properties. In October 1996, the company merged with Time Warner Inc., and in 2001, Time Warner merged with AOL to create AOL Time Warner. The company later changed its name back to Time Warner Inc, going on to become WarnerMedia.
Turner is chairman of Turner Enterprises, Inc. (TEI), a private company with offices in Atlanta, GA and Bozeman, MT, that oversees his business interests, investments and landholdings, including the management of his bison herd of approximately 45,000 located across 15 ranches in the western U.S. In 2015, Turner founded Ted Turner Reserves (TTR) which is overseen by TEI and allows the public access to Turner’s four properties in New Mexico, totaling approximately one million acres.
Turner is founder and chairman of the United Nations Foundation; co-founder and co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative; founder and chairman of the Turner Foundation; and co-founder of Ted's Montana Grill restaurant chain, which operates 43 locations nationwide.
Out of concern for the well-being of his land and its species, Turner established the Turner Endangered Species Fund in 1997 to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing restoration efforts of endangered or imperiled species on Turner ranches and in partnership with state and federal natural resources agencies.
Turner is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including being named TIME Magazine’s 1991 Man of the Year, Broadcasting and Cable’s Man of the Century in 1999 and one of TIME 100 World’s Most Influential People in 2009. Turner also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 35th Annual Sports Emmy® Awards in 2014 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards in 2015, among many others.