Thomas Leahy, former CBS president who helped develop one of the company’s first cable ventures during a 30-year career with the network, died Friday March 8 of cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He was 64.
He joined CBS in 1962, working in a number of sales positions before being named vice president of sales for CBS Television Stations in 1971. He became general manager of the network’s flagship station, WCBS-TV New York in 1973. He was named president of the CBS Television Stations Division in 1977, and rose to president of the CBS Television Network in 1986, where he remained for about three years. He was responsible for the company’s broadcasting of the Tony Awards from 1983 to 1990. In 1989, he became president of a new CBS marketing division.
He retired from CBS in 1992 and went on to be president of Studio Lane Productions Inc., a consultant to the Cablevision Systems Corp. He also served as dean of the Queens College school of journalism, media and information studies after being appointed to that post in 1998 when the school was founded.
In the legit world, he serving as chairman of the board of the Broadway Assn. and president of the Theater Development Fund, which operates TKTS booths.
He is survived by wife Patti, six children and four grandchildren.