News exec Jeff Gralnick dies

He was adviser to NBC News' Steve Capus

Longtime news exec Jeff Gralnick, who worked for CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, and CNN over the course of 52 years in television journalism, died Monday night at his home in Connecticut after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Gralnick began working in TV news in 1959 as a desk assistant at CBS, where he went on to spend 11 years working for the division, providing on-site reporting of the Vietnam War and special coverage of the space program during its heyday. He was one of the first producers for “60 Minutes.”

After a brief stint as press secretary for George McGovern, he returned to news, this time at ABC, to work as a field producer and then as exec producer of “World News Tonight.” He was eventually promoted to VP and exec producer in charge of special events at the Alphabet, where he covered conventions, elections and breaking news from 1980-92.

After moving back and forth between broadcast networks, Gralnick worked in cable news at CNN before he began consulting work in 2001 with clients including CNBC.

At the time of his death, Gralnick served as special consultant to NBC News topper Steve Capus, with whom he was working on growth strategies for international news.

Capus spoke highly of Gralnick in an email to staff on Tuesday morning. “During a remarkable 52-year career, he changed the way news was produced, reported and presented on many different platforms,” Capus said. “He was also a good friend and confidant to me personally.”

ABC News chief Ben Sherwood, too, praised Gralnick’s character and his accomplishments in an internal note. “To call Jeff a legend in our business only begins to paint a picture of a producer and executive who for over five decades in a storied career was admired and respected for his unfailing judgment, high standards and creativity,” Sherwood said.

Gralnick is survived by his wife, Beth, and two children. A visitation with the family will be held this Friday from 5-9 p.m. at the Harding Funeral Home in Westport, Conn.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.