Former NBC president and chairman Julian Goodman, who helped establish Chet Huntley and David Brinkley as a successful news team, died Monday in Juno Beach, Fla. He was 90.
Goodman ended his 34-year career at NBC in 1979 after serving as president of the network from 1966 to 1974 and as chairman of the board from 1974-78.
“Julian was one of the great statesmen of network television, a journalist who rose through the ranks to the highest levels of NBC — and always stayed true to the place of public service as an obligation of what we do,” said former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.
Goodman joined NBC as a writer at the night news desk in Washington in 1945. He rose through the ranks to become exec VP of NBC News at the time Huntley and Brinkley were competitors to Walter Cronkite on CBS.
As network president, he later gave Johnny Carson a long-term contract to stay on the “Tonight” show and helped make the American Football League a force by broadcasting the upstart league. NBC televised the 1969 Super Bowl, in which the New York Jets beat the highly favored Baltimore Colts. Goodman was also at the helm during an infamous football incident: when NBC switched to the movie “Heidi” in 1968 and missed an exciting finish to a Jets-Raiders game.
Goodman was born in Glasgow, Ky., and graduated from Western Kentucky U.
Goodman directed NBC News’ film coverage of the political conventions in 1952; four years later he oversaw NBC’s news desk operations at the conventions; during the 1960 campaign, he produced the second broadcast of the “The Great Debates” between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.
He served as a director of RCA for six years starting in 1972. Since his retirement from NBC Goodman served on the board of companies including Gannett.
In 1976 he received the National Assn. of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award as a “broadcast journalist, program innovator and industry leader.” In 1974, he was honored with a Peabody Award for his “outstanding work in the area of First Amendment rights and privileges for broadcasting.”
Goodman later expressed pride at being included on former president Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.”
He is survived by his wife and four children.
(Associated Press contributed to this report.)