Former TV executive Fred Silverman died January 30 at his Los Angeles home at the age of 82 as a result of cancer. He was reportedly surrounded by family at the time of his death.
At one time in his career, Silverman worked for all three of the big television networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC – the only person to do so.
He began his career at a local television station in Chicago and worked his way up to network executive. It was his 406 page master’s thesis on the programming at ABC that got him the job at WGN in Chicago. He was only 25 when he was named the head of daytime programming at CBS. Within 10 years he had been named the head of programming.
It was Silverman who created the “spin off”and launched a whole new series of hit shows.
After leaving his network CEO duties behind, Silverman started his own production company that created another batch of hit shows.
A member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame it was Silverman who created the animated series “Scooby-Doo”. Silverman stated that the name came after hearing Frank Sinatra singing “Strangers in the Night”. He also wrote several episodes of “Metaballs and Spaghetti”.
Silverman is credited as the executive producer on over 60 television productions including his 1962 debut in “Zim Bomba”, “Meatballs and Spaghetti”, “Perry Mason” films, “The Magical World of Disney”, “Father Dowling Mysteries”, “Diagnosis Murder”, “Jake and the Fatman”, “In the Heat of the Night”, and the TV movie “Drive Time Murders”.
He was born September 13, 1937 in New York City the son of a radio and television service man. Fascinated with radio, a young Fred collected radio scripts. He once said that he thinks that at one time he had four or five thousand scripts.
Silverman earned his bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University and his master’s defree at Ohio State who later was the recipient of his massive radio script collection.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years Catherine Ann and children – Melissa and Billy.
feature photo credit: Fred Silverman – Archive interview – YouTube – Foundation Interviews