Throughout his career, Ted Turner has won recognition for his entrepreneurial acumen, sharp business skills, a vision that transformed television, leadership qualities that won sports championships and his unprecedented philanthropy.
Turner is a member of the Time Warner board of directors and the founder of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. He 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-1990s, Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema became Turner Broadcasting properties. In October 1996 the company merged with Time Warner Inc. Today, Turner Broadcasting continues to be the highest revenue producer in basic cable and an industry leader, operating many of the most powerful and well-established brands in news, entertainment and animation.
Turner has also made his mark as one of the most influential philanthropists in the US. He is the chairman of the Turner Foundation Inc. founded in 1990, which provides support for the following efforts: 1) clean water and toxics reduction; 2) clean air through improved energy efficiency and renewables; 3) wildlife habitat protection; and 4) the development of equitable practices and policies designed to reduce population growth rates. Since 1991 the Turner Foundation has provided grants to hundreds of organizations committed to these goals.
The Turner Endangered Species Fund is a core grantee of the Turner Foundation, which works to conserve biodiversity by emphasizing restoration efforts of endangered or imperiled species on the Turner properties.
In September 1997 Turner announced his historic pledge of up to $1 billion to the United Nations Foundation (UNF). The organization supports the goals and objectives of the United Nations to promote a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. UNF has identified four core priorities: women and population, children's health,; the environment, and peace and security. Originally to be awarded over 10 years, Turner's historic gift was intended to inspire an international spirit of participation and philanthropy. At a commemorative luncheon in December 2002 celebrating the 5th anniversary of Turner¿s pledge, the UNF board of directors agreed to extend the life of the foundation an additional five years.
In early 2001 Turner launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a foundation he co-chairs with former Senator Sam Nunn. NTI is working to close the growing and increasingly dangerous gap between the threat from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the global response.
Through Turner Enterprises, Turner manages the largest commercial bison herd in North America, which is spread amongst his 14 ranches in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
In June 2001 Turner announced the creation of two independent film production companies based in Atlanta: Ted Turner Pictures and Ted Turner Documentaries. Gods and Generals was Ted Turner Pictures' first theatrical release. Ted Turner Documentaries produced an eight-hour documentary series, Avoiding Armageddon, about weapons of mass destruction that aired on PBS stations in April 2003.