The Rise of ABC: The Stars, Struggles, and Egos That Transformed Network Television

There’s more to entertainment than rehab & court dates!

Behind every flambouyant celebrity is a grey suited businesslike execuctive who's job it is to keep the whole show running. They're people like Brad Grey and Sumner Redstone. They're also people like Leonard H. Goldenson who did what they said couldn't be done, that is creat ABC as America's viable third television network

Most normal healthy people enjoy a little bit of entertainment gossip. Celebrities are larger than life, and even their problems seem more glamorous than our own. However behind every outrageous public personality is a serious gray suited executive type quietly deciding which pilots to promote and which scheduling slots to fill.

Apart from big name execs like Sumner Redstone and Brad Grey you might not know who they are, or even thought much about their existence. They’re the flip side of entertainment. Think of them like the wizard in Oz, hiding behind the curtain while keeping the whole wild show going. They’re the ones who make it possible. So let’s spend and hour with Leonard H. Goldenson, former president of ABC & the man who built that networkto find out about what goes on behind the curtain!

courtesy of  The Film Archives

Leonard H. Goldenson (December 7, 1905 — December 27, 1999) was President of the U.S. television and radio broadcaster ABC.

was born in Pennsylvania in 1905. He grew up in the town of Scottdale,
Pennsylvania and graduated from Scottdale High School. He is arguably
the most influential person from Scottdale. He was educated at Harvard,
and entered the entertainment industry in 1933 as an attorney for
Paramount Pictures after graduating from Harvard Business School.
Goldenson was hired to help reorganize United Paramount Theatres,
Paramount’s theater chain, which at the time was nearing bankruptcy. So
skillful was his work at this assignment that Paramount’s chief
executive officer, Barney Balaban, hired Goldenson to manage the entire

Goldenson orchestrated the merger of United Paramount
Theatres with ABC in 1953 (after Paramount was ordered to spin it off in
the wake of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., a 1948 decree of
the U.S. Supreme Court). ABC was originally formed in 1943 in the wake
of an earlier Supreme Court decree effectively ordering the spinoff of
the largely secondary-status Blue Network from its then-parent, NBC; its
buyer, industrialist Edward J. Noble, tried valiantly to build ABC into
an innovative and competitive broadcaster, but by 1951 was rumored to
be on the verge of selling the nearly bankrupt operation to CBS, who
apparently wanted ABC’s critically important owned-and-operated
television stations.[1][2]

Goldenson rescued ABC with a $25 million
cash infusion, becoming the founding chairman of the merged company
which was named American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres. The modern ABC
dates its history from the effective date of the Goldenson transaction,
and not the Blue Network spinoff.

Although he focused chiefly on ABC
Television, Goldenson oversaw all areas of ABC-Paramount’s
entertainment/media operations for over thirty years, from 1951 to 1986,
including the creation of the AmPar Record Corporation in 1955 and the
‘rebadging’ of the ABC-Paramount group as the American Broadcasting
Company in 1968.[3] Goldenson also was instrumental in the sale of ABC
to Capital Cities Communications in 1986. Very early on in his tenure,
Goldenson also hired the first African-American staff announcer in
network television and radio history, Sid McCoy.

Goldenson, whose
first-born daughter was born with cerebral palsy, co-founded United
Cerebral Palsy in 1949 and used station WBKB (at the time owned by
United Paramount Theatres) to be the flagship station for the inaugural
UCP telethon that year.

In 1974, Mr. Goldenson received The Hundred
Year Association of New York’s Gold Medal Award “in recognition of
outstanding contributions to the City of New York.”

The Leonard H.
Goldenson Theater at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
building in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.…

Now you just have to give Leonard his full measure of credit. He helped create ABC. ABC is the network that brought us Wonder Woman in the form of Lynda Carter. So he’s entitled to the same measure of gratitude as Lucille Ball is for giving the world Star Trek through her Desilu Productions! On behalf of comic fans everywhere, a hearty thanks to you sir!

ABC is the network that gave the world Wonder Woman in the form of Lynda Carter, and Leonard H. Goldenson gave America ABC!
Keep Calm & Call Wondertrash!

Latest Gossip = Slap Egotists

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