"I had no idea I would lose control of CNN when I merged with Time Warner," Turner said, adding he could have retained control of the media company if it hadn't been for the subsequent merger with America Online.
"It was a big mistake to lose control of CNN. I lost control over it, and I lost it a long time ago," Turner said. "And I apologize to everybody. I had a sacred trust there, and I let it get away. I was overconfident. I thought I had done such a good job there was no way they could phase me out."
Turner also said he was disappointed with the way news is now presented, with more focus on the "pervert of the day" than on the issues of the environment, nuclear threats and international affairs.
"CNN here in the United States has gotten a lot more tabloid," he said.
Turner made the remarks as he accepted the 2006 Delta Prize for Global Understanding at the University of Georgia, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.