Grant Tinker passed away this week at the age of 91.
He served as chairman and CEO of NBC from 1981 to 1986 and was married to Mary Tyler Moore from 1962 to 1981. They formed the television production company MTM Enterprises in 1969, famous for producing such popular sitcoms as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, and WKRP in Cincinnati.
However, prior to that, he was an assistant to NBC head Mort Werner in the early 1960s. As Merv Griffin recounts in his section of The Jeopardy! Book, during the initial run-through of the Jeopardy! pilot in the NBC offices, NBC head Mort Werner was dejected, not having been able to come up with a single correct response during the pilot. Had he been there on his own, I think that it is safe to say that he would not have bought Jeopardy! for NBC. However, Tinker was in that run-through as Werner’s assistant, and in response to Werner’s dejection, Tinker was insistent, just telling Werner to “buy it”.
The rest is history, as an American television institution was thankfully not left in an NBC office.
So, may you rest in peace, Grant Tinker, and thank you so much from all Jeopardy! fans. We owe you a significant deal of gratitude for the past five-plus decades of Jeopardy!.
(photo credit: Wikipedia)