Fred Silverman, who steered programming for each of the Big Three broadcast networks and brought “All in the Family,” “Roots,” “Hawaii Five-O” and other hit series and miniseries to television, died Thursday. He was 82.
Silverman, who had been battling cancer, died at his home in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, family spokesperson Julia Rosen said Thursday. Family members were with him, Rosen said.
Silverman’s gift for picking shows that resonated with viewers prompted Time magazine to dub him “The Man with the Golden Gut” in a 1977 profile. As ABC’s entertainment chief, Silverman had turned the network’s fortunes around with shows including “Roots,” “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Charlie’s Angels.”
He had already brought success to CBS with an overhaul that included the end of country-themed series including “Petticoat Junction” and “Green Acres” and a pivot to what advertisers considered more upscale and urban fare, including “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Mannix.”
Silverman couldn’t work his ratings magic when he moved to NBC as network CEO and president, with “Diff’rent Strokes” an exception.