NBC Executive Behind 'Must See TV' Is Dead

Don Ohlmeyer was 72
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2017 3:03 AM CDT
Network Exec Who Coined 'Must See TV' Is Dead
This 1978 photo shows TV producer Don Ohlmeyer at a mobile TV control center during a golf tournament in Rancho Mirage, Calif.   (Uncredited)

Don Ohlmeyer, the Monday Night Football producer who came up with the phrase "Must See TV" in leading NBC to the No. 1 prime-time spot, died Sunday at age 72. Longtime friend Al Michaels announced Ohlmeyer's death while broadcasting NBC's Sunday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, per the AP. Ohlmeyer had cancer and died at home, says his family. Ohlmeyer won 16 Emmys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Peabody Awards. He came up with "Must See TV" in the 1990s, when NBC's rating soared with such hits as Seinfeld, Friends, ER, and Frasier.

"His legacy will live on not only because he is directly responsible for some of the biggest hits in television—Friends, ER, and Will & Grace to name a few—but also because he brought NBC to a new level of classy, sophisticated programming," said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. Ohlmeyer first worked for ABC Sports as a gofer while studying at Notre Dame and became a full-time production assistant in 1967 under Roone Arledge, working on Wide World of Sports. He became producer of MNF in 1972. Later at NBC Sports, he produced World Series and Super Bowl broadcasts. After running his own Ohlmeyer Communications Company, he returned to NBC in 1993 as its entertainment division president. (Read more network television stories.)

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