Broadcasting pioneer Chet Collier has died in Florida after a long illness. Mr. Collier was born in 1927.
The news was announced Wednesday afternoon on Fox News Channel, which Mr. Collier helped launch in 1996 with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes.
As a producer on “The Mike Douglas Show,” Mr. Collier hired the then-22-year-old Mr. Ailes as a production assistant.
“Mike Douglas” was the first syndicated program to win an Emmy Award. Mr. Collier would collect seven Emmys and a prestigious Peabody Award during his career of more than five decades.
Mr. Collier had a formative hand in shows involving the likes of Regis Philbin, Steve Allen, Merv Griffin and David Frost.
Mr. Collier worked for Mr. Ailes at America’s Talking, a cable channel developed for NBC by Mr. Ailes before he left to launch Fox News, where Mr. Collier was a founding executive VP.
In an internal e-mail Wednesday, Mr. Ailes wrote: “He had been battling illness for a while and when I went to see him for two days over the 4th of July week, he was still watching the Fox News Channel every hour of the day. He was also still giving me good advice. He loved Fox News and was very proud of the accomplishments here. He never took any credit for himself, but we couldn’t have accomplished everything we did without him. I do not know any more details at the moment, but I believe next month we’ll put together a memorial service here in New York. My condolences to his wife, Dottie, and his family.”