Grant Tinker, Former NBC CEO, Dies at 90

Exec was also Mary Tyler Moore’s ex-husband and business partner

Former NBC CEO Grant Tinker has died. He was 90.

Tinker was known for insisting on quality for his network. That dedication to good TV — including “The Cosby Show,” “Cheers” and “Family Ties” — helped bring NBC out of the basement, where it was when Tinker took over in 1981. He’d serve as chairman and chief executive officer until 1986.

Tinker is survived by two sons, Mark and John.

“My father set the bar high both as a television executive and a father. I never heard anyone speak of him with anything other than respect and admiration,” Mark Tinker, an executive producer on NBC’s “Chicago PD,” said in a Wednesday statement. “I’m proud to be his son and especially proud of the legacy he leaves behind in business and as a gentleman.”

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Grant Tinker last night. He was not only an iconic television producer with the highest standards, but also a towering figure in the history of the NBC network,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “Much will be written about him by more eloquent writers than I, but his level of class set him apart from everyone else in our business and all of us at this company owe him a debt of gratitude. In fact, TV watchers everywhere do.”

“Grant Tinker was a great man who made an indelible mark on NBC and the history of television that continues to this day,” remembered NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. “He loved creative people and protected them, while still expertly managing the business. Very few people have been able to achieve such a balance. We try to live up to the standards he set each and every day. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

Tinker was also married to actress Mary Tyler Moore, now 79, before divorcing in 1981. Together, the former couple created MTM Enterprises, which produced “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Hill Street Blues.”

Watch a “Today” show tribute to Tinker above.