Viewers Will Help Turner Classic Movies Celebrate 15th Anniversary By Programming Film Festival

Turner Classic Movies will share its love of classic cinema by giving select fans the opportunity to program an April film festival as part of  the network's 15th anniversary celebration.

The network will also roll out several new original series and specials as part of its 2009 programming slate, according to TCM senior vice president of programming Charles Tabesh.

In recognition of its 15th anniversary, the 80-million subscriber network will from April 13-17 turn the network's programming over to 15 viewers ranging in ages from 14 to 69 who will join TCM host Robert Osborne to introduce their favorite films, including such classics Gone With The Wind,Singin' In The Rain, The Maltese Falcon and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

"We are very excited about sharing our 15th anniversary with the fans who have helped make TCM television's ultimate authority on classic film," said Tabesh in a statement.

On the original programming front, the network will debut a March 24 special Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood, a 30-minute film that looks as the life of the famous animator through his works. Actor Warren Beatty will host a July special revolving around the famed movie detective Dick Tracy. In October, the service's thriller films will be supplemented by a new series of genre-based documentary specials.

TCM will provide spotlight specials featuring the movies of legendary producers the Korda brothers; actors Ronald Reagan and Denzel Washington; producer Frank Capra; film composer Bernard Herrmann and still photographer Morris Engel; as well as movie showcases revolving around the British film and music invasion, mockumentary films and onscreen funny ladies.

Other specials include a May installment of its "Race And Hollywood" franchise, focusing on Latino film images in May; a June directors' spotlight featuring films from such icons as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, John Ford and Orson Wells; and a July showcase featuring 1939 classics like The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights.

Celebrities will also play a role on the network as actors such as Anthony Hopkins and Cloris Leachman will talk about their favorite films on the monthly Guest Programmers show; while actor Alec Baldwin and Jon Lithgow will host TCM's movie showcases The Essentials and The Essentials Jr., respectively, said the network.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.