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Fubo TV to return Turner channels to lineup

A banner with the logo of streaming service Fubo TV hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange.
A banner with the logo of streaming service Fubo TV hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo courtesy Fubo TV via LinkedIn, Graphic by The Desk)

Fubo TV has reached a deal with Warner Bros Discovery that will bring several Turner-owned channels back to the streaming television service, The Desk has learned.

The channels — TBS, TNT, the Cartoon Network, CNN, Tru TV, HLN and others — could return as soon as January 16, with an announcement possible later this week, according to people familiar with the matter. One source characterized the agreement as a “soft deal,” and said the companies are still ironing out specific terms.

Some on-demand programming from Turner-owned TBS and TNT began appearing over the weekend, though it was inaccessible when subscribers tried to play the shows, according to one customer. The Desk was able to confirm some on-demand content — including “Supernatural,” “Friends” and “NBA on TNT” — were showing up in Fubo TV’s interactive guide and on the service’s website.

Jennifer Press, a spokesperson for Fubo TV, told The Desk by e-mail that the company has “no plans to launch any Warner Bros Discovery channels.” But the company does have an existing agreement with WBD to offer a handful of legacy channels, including Animal Planet, the Travel Channel and Investigation Discovery. Fubo TV officials have attempted to refute news stories in the past as inaccurate or incomplete, only for the information to later be confirmed.

The Turner channels were once carried by Fubo TV, only to be removed in July 2020 after the company decided to sign a programming agreement with the Walt Disney Company for ESPN and other channels as part of the service’s mission of offering a robust lineup of live sports. The move meant Fubo TV subscribers were forced to go without some key basketball, baseball and — more recently — hockey events. WarnerMedia, the operator of the Turner channels, merged with Discovery last year.

At the start of this year, Fubo TV dropped around a half-dozen channels owned by AMC Networks, then summarily raised prices on subscribers, with the base Fubo TV package now starting at $75 a month, and some subscribers are now being charged an additional $11 to $14 a month in fees for regional sports networks.

Editor’s note: This article was updated from a previous version with more information about the agreement, and to include a statement from a Fubo TV spokesperson.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).