Leonard Goldenson

TV Titans

It takes nothing away from the accomplishments of CBS and NBC founders William Paley and David Sarnoff to suggest that, in some ways, Goldenson’s creation of ABC was even more ambitious: He didn’t have large reserves of high-tech reach or talent pool of those other guys, nor the luxury of being first into the network TV waters.

Instead, Goldenson was the first to introduce the concept of filling a niche with network TV. He went after young audiences, from “American Bandstand” to “The Mod Squad” and “Happy Days.” He struck a deal with Wallt Disney, who used ABC to publicize Disneyland on “Wonderful World of Disney.” By empowering Roone Arledge, he allowed ABC to become a pioneer in sports and news. Even animation got its primetime start with “The Flintstones.” Other moguls, including Barry Diller and Michael Eisner, got their start at Goldenson’s net.

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