It was Ted Turner's biggest triumph.
In 1986, Turner Broadcasting System completed its acquisition of CBS, Inc., merging the two companies as CBS-Turner Entertainment. The CBS News and Cable News Network units were merged into one, with CNN becoming . . . well, CNN: The CBS News Network. With a partnership with CBS, TBS actually gained viewership and a new corporate alliance in the world of entertainment. CBS Sports, formed from the merger of the Turner Sports and CBS Sports units, acquired broadcast rights to NFL and NBA games, the first time a cable and broadcast group jointly gained rights to sports broadcasts.
By 1993, CBS-Turner was actually beneficial for both companies, but they needed content companies. After buying out the partners in Tri-Star (the original Tri-Star ownership was CBS, HBO, and Columbia Pictures), CBS-Turner also bought a significant stake in Columbia Pictures Entertainment from Coca-Cola, averting a complete takeover from Sony, merging the film company with Turner's earlier studio purchases Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Hanna-Barbera and a pair of independent studios. Castle Rock Entertainment and New Line Cinema, calling the merged filmed entertainment units MGM Columbia. With these libraries, CBS-Turner launched three networks: Cartoon Network (focused on animation), The MGM Movie Network, and The Screen Gems Channel (focused on classic sitcoms, dramas, and television movies).
Although he regretted not getting NBC, the success Ted Turner had with CBS only grew as the decades continued, and CBS-Turner has become his strongest legacy.