'Star Wars' Franchise Heading to TBS and TNT in New TV Deal

The Hollywood Reporter

Turner is headed to a galaxy far, far away.

The media parent of TNT and TBS has snagged the rights to the famed Star Wars franchise, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

As part of the multi-year licensing agreement with Disney - which purchased LucasFilm in 2012 - and 20th Century Fox - which released the first six films of the series - TNT and TBS will have exclusive liner basic cable right and ad-supported on-demand rights to Star Wars.

The pact with Disney covers 2015’s The Force Awakens, as well as this year’s spinoff Rogue One and the next three Star Wars theatrical releases. Subsequently, all of Disney’s Star Wars releases will have their network premieres on Turner’s cable networks.

The Disney deal also includes five of the six original films, beginning with 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and running through 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. Turner also has a separate agreement with 20th Century Fox for the film that started it all: 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope - thus making Turner the only company boasting basic cable rights to all 11 titles in the franchise.

“The Star Wars movies and characters are beloved across generations, captivating audiences and breaking box office records around the globe for nearly four decades,” Turner evp of networks optimization, content strategy and commercialization Deborah K. Bradley said. “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.”

To celebrate the landmark deal, TNT will begin airing the original six Star Wars films in order by chapter (as opposed to release date) starting on Sept. 20. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which recently made its pay cable debut on Starz on Sept. 10, will premiere on TNT in 2018, with Rogue One following in 2019. The Force Awakens surpassed Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time in North America in January. It’s current domestic haul stands at $936 million. 

TNT’s rollout is detailed below:

Tuesday, Sept. 20

8 p.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

11 p.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Wednesday, Sept. 21

8 p.m. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones11:05 p.m. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

Thursday, Sept. 22

8 p.m. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith11:05 p.m. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Friday, Sept. 23

8 p.m. Star Wars: A New Hope10:45 p.m. Star Wars: A New Hope

Saturday, Sept. 24

10:45 a.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace1:45 p.m. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones4:55 p.m. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith8 p.m. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back10:45 p.m. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Sunday, Sept. 25

5:15 a.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace8:15 a.m. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones11:20 a.m. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith2:25 p.m. Star Wars: A New Hope5:10 p.m. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back8 p.m. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi11 p.m. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
2 a.m. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace