The Essentials (TV program)

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The Essentials
Presented bySee Hosts
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons17
Original networkTurner Classic Movies
Original release2001 (2001)

The Essentials is an American weekly film-focused television program broadcast on Turner Classic Movies, with TCM hosts and special guests introducing and discussing some of the best movies ever made.


For a sixteen-year period from 2001 to 2017 excepting 2016, the program aired each Saturday night at 8:00 PM Eastern Time from March to January of the following year. For the first five seasons, a single individual hosted the program; for the remaining seasons, a main host would be paired with a guest.

For the balance of the program's broadcast, a full decade from 2006 to 2015, a guest host was paired with the principal host of TCM, Robert Osborne. The program was suspended in 2016 due to the poor health of Osborne, and continued following the death of Osborne in 2017, having Alec Baldwin paired with a sequence of guests.

The program was not programmed by the network after the sixteenth season ended in January 2018. It was revived in May 2019 with new host Ben Mankiewicz.


For the program's first five seasons, a single individual hosted the program. From 2006 to 2015, a guest host was paired with the principal host of TCM, Robert Osborne.

Films featured on The Essentials[edit]

Essentials, Jr.[edit]

A spin-off showcase, Essentials, Jr., aired in the summer months of 2007 through 2014, on Sunday nights at 8:00 PM Eastern Time. The featured films were chosen for their appeal to families with young children. The original host was Tom Kenny; he was replaced for the second season by co-hosts Abigail Breslin and Chris O'Donnell. John Lithgow hosted the 2009 and 2010 seasons. The program was hosted from 2011 through 2014 by Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live fame.[1][2][3][4]


  1. ^ Bill Hader Joins Turner Classic Movies This Summer as Host of TCM ESSENTIALS JR. Turner Classic Movies press release (May 4, 2011). Retrieved on May 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "'SNL' funnyman Bill Hader returns as host of TCM movie series". LA Times. June 1, 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  3. ^ Gray, Ellen (June 1, 2011). "SNL funnyman makes some serious picks for TCM". Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Meet the Hosts". TCM The Essentials Jr. Retrieved 16 March 2015.

External links[edit]