He a new sibling network, CNN Headline News,

He was known as “the Mouth from theSouth,” “Captain Outrageous”, and after recovering fromfinancial troubles in the mid-1980s, “Captain Comeback.

” Ted Turner,by almost any set of standards, was as original, enterprising, belligerent, andself-indulgent a man as America had ever produced. He made himself into a mediakingpin and even skippered an America’s Cup-winning yacht. Time magazine declared him “perhaps the most openly ambitiousman in America.” And by the end of the 1980s, he was alsoone of the richest, presiding over an empire worth a staggering $5 billion.  In business, Turner was a gambler, and his biggestgamble seemed, at first, a reckless one: a 24-hour news channel on thefledgling medium of cable TV, where he had launched his”Superstation” WTBS in 1976. Cable News Network (CNN) got off to aslow start on June 1, 1980, but within two years, it was reaching 13.9million homes. It provided live, round-the-clock coverage through satelliteuplinks, giving viewers a dramatic and irresistible window on the news as itunfolded.

 Turner’s claim that he had created “the mostsignificant achievement in the annals of journalism” took on an aura oftruth. With breakneck speed, Turner’s network was on the scene for the decade’sbiggest stories: the shooting of President Reagan in March 1981, the explosionof the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986, the May 1989 student uprisingsin Tiananmen Square, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in November ofthat year. Frequently beating the big three networks to the punch, CNN providedexhaustive, eyewitness coverage no mere half-hour news broadcast could hope tomatch, although, as a 24-hour medium, it sometimes struggled to hold itsaudience when little was happening.

 As the 1980s came to a close, CNN and a newsibling network, CNN Headline News, were reaching 51 million homes in the United States and countless others in 83 nations abroad. Inaddition, Turner’s empire had expanded to include such holdings as TurnerEntertainment, which syndicated MGM movies, and the new Turner NetworkTelevision (TNT) as well as the Atlanta Braves baseball team and basketball’sAtlanta Hawks. “It’s obvious I was seeing that other people didn’tsee,” said Turner, “just like Columbus discovered the world was round.”

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