Turner Snags Blockbuster ‘Star Wars’ Deal

Turner has entered into a multi-year agreement for the Star Wars movie collection, which gives TNT and TBS the exclusive basic cable rights to the fabled film franchise. An agreement with Disney covers 10 films, including the network premiere windows to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opens in December. The deal also includes five of the six original Star Wars films, as well as the network television premieres of the next three movies to be released. 

Turner and 20th Century Fox have a separate deal for Star Wars: A New Hope, which kicked things off back in 1977. 

"The Star Wars movies and characters are beloved across generations, captivating audiences and breaking box office records around the globe for nearly four decades," said Deborah K. Bradley, executive VP of networks optimization, content strategy and commercialization at Turner. "Through this deal, TNT and TBS will be the exclusive basic cable home of one of the most iconic, enduring and valuable movie franchises of all time, giving viewers the chance to watch this amazing collection from the very beginning."

TNT kicks off six nights of Star Wars starting Sept. 20, with The Phantom MenaceAttack of the Clones airs on Sept. 21, Revenge of the Sith Sept. 22, A New Hope Sept. 23, The Empire Strikes Back Sept. 24 and Return of the Jedi Sept. 25.

The movies will also air in December in conjunction with Disney's theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. TNT is set to premiere Star Wars: The Force Awakens in early 2018, followed in 2019 by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

A Star Wars Story comes from Lucasfilm, with a group of unlikely heroes banding together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star.

Terms of the deal were not divulged.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.