The former NBC Chairman and CEO was dedicated to commonsense standards of decency.
During his long career in media, Tinker was responsible for bringing intelligent, clean quality programming to television. As head of MTM Enterprises, Tinker helped create The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Family Ties, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, The White Shadow, and Lou Grant. As head of NBC, Tinker was responsible for the network’s 1980’s ratings move from last place to first, with shows including The Cosby Show, Cheers, Night Court, The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, and Remington Steele.
PTC President and former NBC executive Tim Winter commented on Mr. Tinker’s passing:
“ ‘First be best, then be first.’ Grant Tinker’s prescient guidance to the NBC affiliates in the 1980s still holds true today, and it applies to almost every aspect of our human existence.
“When I started my career as a Senior Budget Analyst at NBC in January of 1982, Mr. Tinker was the CEO. I probably only spoke with him personally a half-dozen times, but his extraordinary leadership was present every single day and was felt by each of the several thousand employees at the network.
“Smart, optimistic and always humble, Mr. Tinker had an extraordinary gift of balancing what would appear to be competing interests. For instance, he was able to nurture the creative community to be bolder, and the result was more realistic – and definitely more edgy – prime-time programming. Yet he also understood that his broadcast signal was reaching people inside their homes, and therefore he was committed to commonsense standards of decency. He boldly fired Howard Stern from the NBC Radio Network after hearing Stern’s lewd and explicit program. Mr. Tinker knew full well that Stern would move to a competitor and take a lucrative listening audience with him; but he was more concerned about what NBC stood for.
“Mr. Tinker’s unwavering commitment to excellence resulted in a tenfold increase in profit for the network, and he set the company on a successful path that continued for many years after his departure. His management theory was to hire the best people to do the job and then get out of their way. Some business schools might consider crafting a course around his career.
“I wish we had more Grant Tinkers in our world today. Sadly, we’ve lost the one and only.”
For a full obituary of Mr. Tinker, click here.