News

Veteran Producer Chet Collier Dies

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.”

Comments (10)

Lynda Birmantas Beam:

Mr. Collier was also an esteemed dog show judge and I believe a guiding force behind the Westminster Kennel Club show. I always enjoyed showing dogs to him and very sorry to hear of his passing :(

Loretta Ouellette:

Not only was Mr. Collier an esteemed dog show judge, but a great person that greeted everyone he met like a friend.
I remember catering a luncheon to all the judges at a show he was judging, he came up and thanked me personally for the enjoyable food.
Also, I remember his wife Dottie when she was breeding Komomdorok and I was breeding Kuvaszok, two rare breeds of dogs at that time, from Hungray.
She also is a great person, my condolences to her and all of the family.

Phil Burgess:

I saw him in a brief cameo on a Discovery Channel program last night about the history of dogs and seeing his face brought a smile to mine. Having not thought about Chet in a long while, I Googled him this morning only to see this news. Amazing how those things happen sometimes.

He was a wonderful man and was very kind to this (at the time) very young commercial real estate broker who worked with him in establishing Target Productions in Boston back around 1984. We became friends and still occasionally had lunch together even years after our business dealings had ended. I was thirty years younger than Chet and he taught me a lot. He was a gentleman.

Edeltraud Laurin:

I will remember Chet everytime we go to the "Garden" and walk up the ramp. He was Showchair for many years,and he would be standing at the bottum of the ramp 6:00am in the morning greating the first excipitors for the two day show. And you would see him still late at night going behind the "curtain" to make sure that the benching area's are ok.
I will remember him for being very kind as a judge to the upcoming exhibitors (young people) which are today's handlers or judges. Always smiling and with kind words.
He will be missed. Our condolence to his wife and family.

JimT:

In an industry noted for its behind-the-scenes muckery, Chet Collier was a true gentleman, teacher, one-man think tank and benign leader.

I will always remember his smile and his gentle way of offering criticism or advice. It's been many years since I've worked in TV, but I very often remember (and tell others) what he told me when I was first promoted to a producer at America's Talking: "You are now being paid for your judgement and good taste." I've always remembered it. I wish more people in the industry would take that to heart!

My thoughts are with his friends and family.

Jill K:

Chet was an inspiring TV executive and I learned a great deal from her early in my career as a TV marketing executive in Boston at WCVB. He will be missed, and he has a long legacy of accomplishments.
My prayers and thoughts are with his family.

The Passing of Chet Collier

Whenever I met with Chet Collier I reminded him of a pivotal role he played in my career.

During my earlier appearances on the Mike Douglas Show, an issue arose with a government broadcast agency as to whether or not my work was in conflict with then existing regulations against psychics, spiritualist, etc. Representing the Mike Douglas show, Chet Collier met with key officials and championed my right to appear on television. I will never forget his action and will continue to remember him as one of the kindest and astute leaders in the broadcast industry.

My sympathy and thoughts are with his family.

The Amazing Kreskin

Barbara Currie:

My Father was Chet's friend back in the sixties and seventies before time and distance seperated them. I was a little girl, but I often chuckle when I remember him standing in our livingroom after a swim in the pool, wrapped in a white terry cloth robe and very stylish flip flops. A big bear of a man that I'm glad my family crossed paths with.
Love and best wishes to his family.

-Barbara Currie

Cliff Curley:

I'm truly saddened to learn of Chet's passing. He was an executive at Metro Media at WCVB TV in Boston when I was the Program Director there. Chet was fun, and insightful. He and I would often have "bets" on new program ratings or promotions...he was always thinking. When one big local show aired before our bet he reminded me that "ya know the promos will have to stop for the show to air"... ya could not watch for more than 20 minutes without seeing a spot! He won that bet anyway. Our thoughts to his family. Cliff Curley

Alisa Watts:

I was fortunate to have met Mr. Collier months before FNC hit the air, he was a tall gracious personality with soft hands. He and I discussed my interest in TV Programming--I wasn't transferred to his department. However, Mr. Collier was gracious and willing to hear what I had to say. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. Thank you for the conversation, Mr. Collier.

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