Major TV Executive Has Died

Major Former TV Executive Has Died

( – Jamie Kellner, who built up the Fox and WB television channels, has died at the age of 77.

Kellner suffered from cancer and eventually succumbed to it on June 21, according to a statement released by his family.

Sandy Grushow, who worked with Kellner, said the industry “lost a historically significant entrepreneur and executive.” The two previously worked together at Fox. She initially worked under him as an EVP but was later promoted to the President of Entertainment.

Kellner was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. He had four other siblings. His father worked as a commodities broker, while his mother was employed as a librarian. He originally wanted to be a teacher, but later found an interest in the TV industry.

His breakthrough came in his 30s after working with Lorne Michaels on “Saturday Night Live.” He presented the idea of shortening the show to 30 minutes, then proposing it to several independent stations. That move earned Kellner a reputation that eventually caught the attention of Fox.

He also garnered success after accusing media giants NBC, CBS, and ABC of ignoring younger viewers with their programming. His approach eventually led Fox to recruit him as president of its broadcasting company in 1986. Some of its biggest shows, including “The Simpsons” and “Beverly Hills: 90210,” flourished under his watch. However, Kellner left Fox seven years later.

He then successfully proposed the idea of creating a channel for Warner Brothers. He also pitched the idea for what would become “7th Heaven,” one of the station’s most successful programs. He also played crucial roles in other smash hits, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Dawson’s Creek.” He received a massive cashout after Warner Brothers merged with then media giant American Online in 2000. He then took Ted Turner’s place as the CEO of Turner Broadcasting System until his retirement in 2004.

He continued to serve as chairman of ACME Communications, a station ownership group, until 2016.

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