Fred Silverman, Former CBS Executive and President of NBC and ABC, Dies at 82

Longtime TV producer was behind many hit shows including “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H” and “Hill Street Blues”

Last Updated: January 30, 2020 @ 1:23 PM

Fred Silverman, the legendary television producer and executive behind such hit shows as “All in the Family,” “Soap” and “Hill Street Blues,” died on Thursday. He was 82.

Silverman was a creative executive at CBS, and would later run both ABC and NBC as those networks’ president.  At 25 years old, he was named head of daytime programming CBS. He got his start at WGN-TV in Chicago and WPIX in New York.

During his long career, Silverman was responsible for CBS shows including “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Waltons,” “Good Times,” “The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,” “Kojak,” “Cannon,” “The Jeffersons” and the animated series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!”

With ABC, Silverman greenlit “The Love Boat,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Family,” “Donny & Marie,” “Three’s Company,” “Eight is Enough,” “The Bionic Woman” and “Good Morning America.” His NBC tenure included the aforementioned “Hill Street Blues” and “Shōgun,” and gave David Letterman his first hosting job. He is also responsible for revitalizing NBC News.

After NBC, Silverman moved over to producing, which included a string of “Perry Mason” TV movies, as well as “Matlock,” “Diagnosis: Murder,” “Jake and the Fatman” and “In the Heat of the Night.”

In 1995, Silverman received the Women in Film Lucy Award, which recognizes excellence and innovation in creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

Silverman is survived by his wife, Cathy, their two children Melissa and Billy and his daughter-in-law, Anna. A private service will be held for immediate family and a celebration of his life will follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in his name to the Motion Picture & Television Fund for emergency medical assistance.