Roone Pinckney Arledge, Jr. (July 8, 1931 – December 5, 2002) was an American sports and news broadcasting executive who was president of ABC Sports from 1968 until 1986 and ABC News from 1977 until 1998, and a key part of the company's rise to competition with the two other main television networks, NBC and CBS, in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s. He created many programs still airing today, such as Monday Night Football, ABC World News Tonight, Primetime, Nightline and 20/20. John Heard portrayed him in the 2002 TNT movie Monday Night Mayhem
Arledge in 1983
Roone Pinckney Arledge, Jr.
July 8, 1931
Queens, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 5, 2002 (aged 71)|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary R.C. Cemetery, Southampton|
Arledge was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, the son of Gertrude (Stritmater) and Roone Pinckney Arledge, an attorney. Arledge grew up in Merrick and attended Wellington C. Mepham High School on Long Island where he wrestled and played baseball. Although Arledge was not a stand out wrestler, Mepham was the most premier wrestling school in the country at the time.
Upon graduation, he decided that sportswriting was what he wanted to do in life, and applied to Columbia University. There, he discovered that Columbia's journalism program was a graduate program, not an undergraduate one. Even so, Arledge liked what he saw and enrolled in a liberal-arts program. He also served as President of the Omega Chapter of the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta. His classmates included Max Frankel, who would eventually win a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his work as editorial page editor of the New York Times; Larry Grossman, who became president of the Public Broadcasting Service in 1976 and later went on to head NBC News; and Richard Wald, another president of NBC News that Arledge would later persuade to come over to ABC News as a senior vice-president. He was the only one of the four who did not work at the Columbia Daily Spectator, the daily student newspaper of Columbia University.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in 1952, Arledge enrolled in graduate studies at Columbia's School of International Public Affairs. Restless with graduate studies, he went looking for a job where he could use his college degree and obtained an entry-level job at the DuMont Television Network. Military service intervened, and after Arledge's discharge, he learned the network had folded and he had no job to return to.
Contacts he made at DuMont paid off with a stage manager's job at NBC's New York City station, WRCA (later WNBC). One of his assignments there was to help produce a children's puppet show hosted by Shari Lewis. In 1958, the program won a New York City Emmy award.
Even with that success, Arledge wanted to tinker with programming ideas. Using the avante-garde magazine Playboy as his model, Arledge convinced his superiors at WRCA to let him film a pilot of a show he called "For Men Only." While his superiors liked the pilot, they told him WRCA couldn't find a place in the programming schedule for it. But the WRCA weatherman, Pat Hernon, who hosted the pilot episode of "For Men Only", began showing the kinescope to people around New York City who might want the program. One of them was a former account executive at the ad agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, Edgar J. Scherick, who as far as Hernon knew, was doing something at ABC.
Scherick had joined the fledgling ABC television network when he persuaded it to purchase Sports Programs, Inc. Scherick had formed this company after leaving CBS when the network would not make him the head of sports programming, choosing instead William C. McPhail, a former baseball public-relations agent. Before ABC Sports even became a formal division of the network, Scherick and ABC programming chief Tom Moore pulled off many programming deals involving the most popular American sporting events.
While Scherick wasn't interested in "For Men Only," he recognized the talent Arledge had. Arledge realized ABC was the organization he was looking to join. The lack of a formal organization would offer him the opportunity to claim real power when the network matured. So, he signed on with Scherick as an assistant producer.
Several months before ABC began broadcasting NCAA college football games, Arledge sent Scherick a remarkable memo, filled with youthful exuberance, and television production concepts which sports broadcasts have adhered to since. Previously, network sporting broadcasts had consisted of simple set-ups and focused on the game itself. The genius of Arledge in this memo was not that he offered another way to broadcast the game to the sports fan. The genius was to recognize television had to take the sports fan to the game. In addition, Arledge was intelligent enough to realize that the broadcasts needed to attract, and hold the attention of women viewers. At age 29 on September 17, 1960 he put his vision into reality with ABC's first NCAA college football broadcast from Birmingham, Alabama, between Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs won by Alabama, 21–6. That same year, ABC began broadcasting games in the fledgling American Football League and used the same innovative techniques in their broadcasts. Sports broadcasting has not been the same since.
Despite the production values he brought to NCAA college football, Scherick wanted low-budget (as in inexpensive broadcasting rights) sports programming that could attract and retain an audience. He hit upon the idea of broadcasting track and field events sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union. While Americans were not exactly fans of track and field events, Scherick figured Americans understood games.
So in January 1961, Scherick called Arledge into his office, and asked him to attend the annual AAU board of governors meeting. While he was shaking hands, Scherick said, if the mood seemed right, might he cut a deal to broadcast AAU events on ABC? It seemed a tall assignment, but as Scherick said years later, "Roone was a gentile and I was not." Arledge came back with a deal for ABC to broadcast all AAU events for $50,000 a year.
Next, Scherick and Arledge divided up their NCAA college football sponsor list. They then telephoned their sponsors and said in so many words, "Advertise on our new sports show coming up in April, or forget about buying commercials on NCAA college football this fall." The two persuaded enough sponsors to advertise, though it took them to the last day of a deadline imposed by ABC programming to do it.
Wide World of Sports suited Scherick's plans exactly. By exploiting the speed of jet transportation and flexibility of videotape, Scherick was able to undercut NBC and CBS's advantages in broadcasting live sporting events. In that era, with communications nowhere near as universal as they are today, ABC was able to safely record events on videotape for later broadcast without worrying about an audience finding out the results.
Arledge, his colleague Chuck Howard, and Jim McKay (who left CBS for this opportunity) made up the show on a week-by-week basis the first year it was broadcast. Arledge had a genius for the dramatic story line that unfolded in the course of a game or event. McKay's honest curiosity and reporter's bluntness gave the show an emotional appeal which attracted viewers who might not otherwise watch a sporting event.
But more importantly from Arledge's perspective, Wide World of Sports allowed him to demonstrate his ability as an administrator as well as producer. Arledge did not gain a formal title as president of ABC Sports until 1968, even though Scherick left his position to assume a position of vice president for programming at ABC in 1964.
Arledge personally produced all ten ABC Olympic broadcasts, created the primetime Monday Night Football and coined ABC's famous "Thrill of victory, agony of defeat" tagline — although ABC insiders of that era attribute the authorship to legendary sports broadcaster Jim McKay.
In 1977, ABC made Arledge president of the then low-rated network news division, all while Arledge retained control of the Sports Division. ABC News had at the time been in the middle of blunders such as the disastrous pairing of Barbara Walters with Harry Reasoner at the desk of the network's evening news. The previous year, ABC had lured Walters away from NBC's Today Show for $1,000,000.
Arledge's first major creation for ABC was 20/20, which premiered in June 1978. The first iteration of this program fared badly, and resulted in the firing of the original hosts, with Hugh Downs chosen as the new anchor beginning the second week of the program, with the above-mentioned Barbara Walters joining Downs the following year, eventually becoming Downs' co-anchor by 1981.
Shortly thereafter, Arledge reformatted the network's evening newscast with many of the splashy graphics he had developed at Wide World of Sports, and created World News Tonight. The program was unique not only because it was anchored by three newsmen, but because each of them were located in separate cities. The lead anchor became Frank Reynolds, who was based in Washington, with Max Robinson based out of Chicago, and Peter Jennings reporting from London. The program expanded to weekends in 1979. In 1983, Reynolds died of bone cancer, and Robinson departed the network, and ABC made Jennings the sole anchor of World News Tonight on September 5, 1983. Jennings anchored the broadcast until April 5, 2005, when he announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, to which Jennings would succumb on August 7, 2005.
In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran was taken over by Iranian students, creating the Iranian Hostage Crisis. And on November 4, 1979, Frank Reynolds began anchoring a series of special reports entitled America Held Hostage. Several nights later, Ted Koppel, then the network's Diplomatic correspondent to the U.S. State Department, took over as anchor. The special reports led to the creation of Nightline, which premiered on March 24, 1980. Koppel anchored the broadcast with Chris Bury, and served as its managing editor. Koppel retained the position until his retirement in November 2005.
In 1986, Arledge stepped down as president of ABC Sports. That same year, ABC's World News Tonight began a ten-year domination of the network news ratings.
In 1998, Arledge retired from ABC News.
His autobiography, Roone: A Memoir, was published posthumously in 2003.
Arledge was selected by Life magazine as one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century". Sports Illustrated ranked him number three in a list of "the 40 individuals who have most significantly altered or elevated the world of sports in the last four decades".
The NATPE "Man of the Year" Iris Award was presented to him in 1971.
He was the winner of 37 Emmy Awards and in 1990 was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was given the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2007, The Walt Disney Company posthumously named Arledge a Disney Legend for his contributions to ABC News and ABC Sports (now ESPN on ABC), both (along with the ABC Network) now owned by Disney.
In 1997, Arledge won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The 12th TCA Awards were presented by the Television Critics Association in a ceremony hosted by Heidi Swedberg. The ceremony was held on July 20, 1996, at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California.20/20 (U.S. TV program)
20/20 is an American television newsmagazine that has been broadcast on ABC since June 6, 1978. Created by ABC News executive Roone Arledge, the program was designed similarly to CBS's 60 Minutes in that it features in-depth story packages, although it focuses more on human interest stories than international and political subjects. The program's name derives from the "20/20" measurement of visual acuity.
The hour-long program has been a staple on Friday evenings (currently airing at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, though sometimes extended one hour earlier, particularly during the summer months) for much of the time since it moved to that timeslot from Thursdays in September 1987, though special editions of the program occasionally air on other nights.
Starting in the fall of 2018, the show dramatically shifted formats to a weekly two hour host-less documentary series of former famous scandals, with no formal announcement of the change.2nd TCA Awards
The 2nd TCA Awards were presented by the Television Critics Association. The ceremony was held on June 10, 1986, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif.7th TCA Awards
The 7th TCA Awards were presented by the Television Critics Association. The ceremony was held on July 26, 1991, at the Universal City Hilton in Los Angeles, Calif.9th International Emmy Awards
The 9th International Emmy Awards took place on November 26, 1981, in New York City, United States.ABC News
ABC News is the news division of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), owned by the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. Its flagship program is the daily evening newscast ABC World News Tonight with David Muir; other programs include morning news-talk show Good Morning America, newsmagazine series Nightline, Primetime and 20/20, and Sunday morning political affairs program This Week with George Stephanopoulos.Alex Wallau
Alex Wallau is a former President of the ABC television network.
Wallau began his career with ABC in 1976, when he joined the network's Sports division under Roone Arledge, then head of ABC Sports. Wallau went on to become a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and director of ABC's sports coverage. He worked primarily on ABC's boxing coverage with announcer Howard Cosell. In 1986, after Cosell's retirement, Wallau became ABC's boxing analyst. He was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as the top television boxing journalist in his first year.
Wallau moved into management in 1993 and was named President of ABC in 2000, with oversight of 11 divisions, including Entertainment, News, Sports, Finance & Sales.
He has served on the Board of Directors of ESPN, the Ad Council and the Paley Center for Media. In 2006, Wallau was honored by UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center with their Humanitarian Award. Wallau is a cancer survivor.Alfred Lerner Hall
Alfred Lerner Hall is the student center or students' union of Columbia University. It is named for Al Lerner, who financed part of its construction. Situated on the university's historic Morningside Heights campus in New York City, the building, designed by deconstructivist architect Bernard Tschumi, then dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, opened in 1999, replacing the previous student center, Ferris Booth Hall, which stood from 1960-1996. The cafeteria in Lerner Hall still bears the name of Ferris Booth, and unlike the other large cafeteria on campus in John Jay, Ferris Booth utilizes only plastic silverware and paper plates. The building attempts to both conform to its context of neoclassical McKim, Mead, and White buildings as well as break out of their mold. In so doing, Lerner Hall features redbrick cladding and proportions that hold the street wall of university buildings along Broadway, but reveals a vast glass wall to the campus fabricated by Eiffel Constructions Metalliques, descendant of the firm that built the Eiffel Tower. Behind the wall are a series of escalating ramps that give the building a unified sense of space and are meant to act as a social meeting place much like the steps of Low Memorial Library.
Lerner Hall features both a cinema and auditorium named for Roone Arledge, a Columbia alumnus with a distinguished career in sports broadcasting and television news. The building also contains eateries, performance space, student club space, lounges, and administrative offices.Ann Fowler
Ann Fowler (born March 16, 1948) is an American beauty pageant titleholder from Birmingham, Alabama, who was named Miss Alabama 1969. She would later marry and divorce American television executive Roone Arledge.David Kaplan (producer)
David Kaplan (c. 1947 – August 13, 1992) was an American television producer for ABC News, killed while his team was covering the Yugoslav Wars.
On August 13, 1992, on his first day in former Yugoslavia, he was struck by a sniper's bullet near the Sarajevo Airport while driving through Sniper Alley. His team had arrived to interview Milan Panic, the new Yugoslav prime minister. When traveling with the prime minister, however, the armored United Nations car proved to be too small to hold everyone, and Kaplan was moved to a "soft-skinned" (unarmored) van of another television crew. Because Kaplan had no flak jacket, he was seated between two journalists who did.A few minutes later, a bullet was fired through the tailgate of the van, between the taped letters "T" and "V". Kaplan was not wearing a flak jacket, and the bullet entered his back, severing an artery. He died hours later in a Sarajevo hospital. Kaplan was the first American citizen to be killed in the Yugoslav Wars. The shooter was unknown.ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson, who had also been traveling in the motorcade, called Kaplan "a good man" who "understood the risks here". US presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater described Kaplan as "an honest, fair, talented and creative journalist" and called his death "a very sad and personal loss for all of us who've worked with David". ABC News President Roone Arledge praised Kaplan as a man who had "devoted his life to news and to this organization."In October 1992, Kaplan was posthumously awarded the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists. His widow Sally accepted the award on his behalf. The following year, Sam Donaldson created a fellowship in Kaplan's name at the Missouri School of Journalism of the University of Missouri.Edgar Scherick
Edgar J. Scherick (October 16, 1924 – December 2, 2002) was an Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning American television executive and producer of television miniseries, made-for-television films, and theatrical motion pictures.Jim McKay
James Kenneth McManus (September 24, 1921 – June 7, 2008), better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, was an American television sports journalist.
McKay is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–1998). His introduction for that program has passed into American pop culture. He is also known for television coverage of 12 Olympic Games, and is universally respected for his memorable reporting on the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races such as the Kentucky Derby, golf events such as the British Open, and the Indianapolis 500. McKay's son, Sean McManus, a protégé of Roone Arledge, is the chairman of CBS Sports.Jimmy Weston's (jazz club)
Jimmy Weston's Restaurant & Jazz Club was an American restaurant and jazz club in New York City, located on East 56th Street beginning in 1963, then, seven years later, moved it to 131 East 54th Street. Tommy Furtado was selected as the house musician and maintained that position until the club closed twenty years later. Its owner, Jimmy Weston (James L. Weston; 1922–1997), closed it in 1989. The New York Times obituary for Weston stated "Given the restaurant's high-level clientele, it was inevitable that it served as a backdrop for social history. It was at Weston's that Mr. Sinatra patched up his feud with Liz Smith, and Howard Cosell got the call from Roone Arledge telling him he had been picked for a daring new idea called "Monday Night Football."Kate Edelman Johnson
Kate Edelman Johnson is a film producer and daughter of motion picture producer, Louis F. Edelman, and the widow of Deane F. Johnson, entertainment attorney and Managing Partner of O'Melveny & Meyers.
She started her career working for her father on his television series' and then moved to New York to work for Roone Arledge at ABC Sports. She also worked as an entertainment consultant to Hallmark Television and for Radio Television Luxembourg (RTL). She manages the rights to some of the television series' produced by her late father in the 1950s and 1960s.
Johnson is involved in creating screenplays and TV series based on these characters, including the Emmy-nominated documentary "Saving Grace". Her late husband left her the rights to the film "A Streetcar Named Desire" which he co-produced. She keeps it in syndication and licenses film clips. 80% of her earnings from "Streetcar" goes to support the work of The Motion Picture and Television Fund.
After her husband's death, she created the Deane F. Johnson Alzheimer's Research Foundation for funding research focused on the prevention and cure of Alzheimer's disease. She chairs its board of directors.
In October 2004 Johnson and Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, M.D., Director of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center opened the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics at UCLA.
In August 2006, Johnson and Dr. Cummings were invited to China to speak about the Johnson Center and to discuss the latest advancing treatments. This has resulted in discussions for sister facilities being developed in Schezuan Province and Beijing. Johnson and Dr. Cummings initiated a partnership with the Ambassador Health Care facilities in Fishers, Indiana.
Johnson is a trustee of the Actors' Fund of America and serves on the Council of the Next Generation of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. She supports the American Film Institute and United Cerebral Palsy, in memory of her mother Rita Edelman.Mort Crim
Mort Crim (born July 31, 1935 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an author and former broadcast journalist. Crim joined WDIV-TV Detroit in 1978 and he retired from anchoring TV newscasts in 1997. He also anchored at WHAS-TV in Louisville, KYW-TV in Philadelphia and WBBM-TV in Chicago. Crim was considered to be a top candidate by former ABC News president Roone Arledge to be a co-anchor for ABC's World News Tonight newscast in 1978. In 1984, he hosted a technology program on PBS, New Tech Times. Crim is also a founder of a Detroit area integrated marketing agency, Mort Crim Communications, Inc. Crim is currently working for Majic Window Company in Wixom, Michigan, and has been featured in television commercials for that company.
Crim anchored the American Information Network (ABC) program News Around The World in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as many other hourly newscasts.
In addition to his anchoring duties, Mort Crim also has four syndicated editorial and news features for radio: One Moment Please (originally a television feature), News You'll Care About (a five-minute news summary), Second Thoughts and American Spirit. He was also previously a substitute anchor for Paul Harvey's daily radio programs.
Crim contributed an intro monologue to The White Stripes' song "Little Acorns", from their 2003 album Elephant.Crim read the eulogy at news colleague Jessica Savitch's memorial service, following her 1983 death.
Crim remains active as a keynote speaker, addressing conventions and conferences across the country. He is the author of seven books and currently is writing his eighth. He also writes and produces television documentaries—his most recent, Flight Level Seven Four and Still Climbing, an account of the solo cross-country flight he made in his light sport aircraft to celebrate his 74th birthday.
In February 2007, Crim was diagnosed with colon cancer.
According to his doctors at Mayo Clinic, the cancer was caught early and Crim has since made a full recovery.
The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia  inducted Crim into their Hall of Fame in 2009.
In a 2013 interview, actor/comedian Will Ferrell revealed that Crim was the main inspiration for his popular TV news anchor character Ron Burgundy.Nightline
Nightline (or ABC News Nightline) is ABC News' late-night news program broadcast on ABC in the United States with a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main anchor from March 1980 until his retirement in November 2005. Its current, rotating anchors are Dan Harris, Byron Pitts, and Juju Chang. Nightline airs weeknights from 12:37 to 1:07 a.m., Eastern Time, after Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which had served as the program's lead-out from 2003 to 2012.
In 2002, Nightline was ranked 23rd on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. It has won three Peabody Awards, one in 2001, and two in 2002 for the reports "Heart of Darkness" and "The Survivors".Through a video-sharing agreement with the BBC, Nightline repackages some of the BBC's output for an American audience. Segments from Nightline are shown in a condensed form on ABC's overnight news program World News Now. There is also a version of Nightline for sister cable channel Fusion.Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell was an American television comedy-variety program that ran on ABC from September 1975 to January 1976, hosted by Howard Cosell and executive-produced by Roone Arledge. The series ran for 18 episodes before being cancelled. The show was later remembered by its director Don Mischer as "one of the greatest disasters in the history of television", largely because Cosell and Arledge—both veterans of sports broadcasting—were entirely unfamiliar with comedy and variety programming.Despite having highly notable celebrities both as cast members and guests, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell has never been made available on home video.
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell is consistently confused with the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live. In October 1975, rival network NBC began airing the late night comedy show NBC's Saturday Night, the creation of producer Lorne Michaels. The shows did not compete for the same time slot. Cosell's Saturday Night Live aired at 8 p.m. ET/PT, whereas NBC's Saturday Night aired at 11:30 p.m. After Cosell's show was cancelled, the NBC show was renamed Saturday Night Live.Sean McManus (television executive)
Sean J. McManus (born February 16, 1955) is the Chairman of CBS Sports and was the President of both CBS Sports and CBS News from 2005 to 2011. He is the son of sportscaster Jim McKay. Sean graduated from Fairfield College Preparatory School, a private Jesuit high school in Fairfield, Connecticut. Sean McManus began his career at ABC News in 1977 following his graduation from Duke University.
Sean McManus was closely associated with Roone Arledge and has paralleled Arledge's path from managing sports broadcasting to managing both sports and news broadcasting.
McManus led the CBS Corporation’s efforts in re-acquiring broadcast rights to the National Football League in January 1998 and, in November 2004 with Leslie Moonves, re-negotiated the contract to retain the rights for CBS until 2011. He serves as executive producer overseeing all aspects of CBS Sports’ coverage of the NFL, including production, on-air talent, advertising and promotion.
Sean McManus lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.TCA Career Achievement Award
The TCA Career Achievement Award is an award given by the Television Critics Association. The Career Achievement Award annually honors an individual who has inspired his or her work in television. In 2014, director James Burrows became the 30th recipient of the award.
Television Hall of Fame Class of 1989
Presidents of ABC News
Presidents of ABC Sports