clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This is the video CNN planned to air when the world ended

When he launched his 24-hour news channel CNN in 1980, Ted Turner made a promise. "We won't be signing off until the world ends. We'll be on, we'll be covering it live, and that will be our last, last event. We'll play the national anthem for one time on the first of June [the day the channel originally launched], and that's all. When the end of the world comes, we'll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee' before we sign off."

Former CNN intern Michael Ballaban posted what he claims is the legendary video for Jalopnik, along with the back-story and some fun anecdotes from his time at CNN.

Here's the best quote from Ballaban's piece:

Since those early years, CNN has grown into a ponderous object in the background, immovably entrenched on cable even as it has been tossed from corporate merger to corporate merger. Born as part of Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System, in 1996 it became a part of Time Warner. In 2000 America Online bought Time Warner for $164 billion, and in 2006 Ted Turner himself left the Time Warner board. In 2009, the biggest corporate mistake in history reached its inevitable conclusion, and AOL was spun off from the company it once attempted to dominate.

Through it all there have been monumental culture shifts and budget re-adjustments, ideas tried out and tossed aside. There are few vestiges left of its original promise.

But there is still the video, awaiting its deployment.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.