Former CBS News VP Dies at 67; His Producing Skills Brought Him 13 Emmys. Many Will Remember Him in Tiananmen Square

Aug 22, 2011  •  Post A Comment

One of CBS News’ most popular producers has died at age 67, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Maui, Hawaii, on Aug. 19, 2011, where he retired several years ago.

Lane Venardos was remembered, in a statement, by Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and the executive producer of "60 Minutes": “Lane was a wonderful and talented man who had a great gift: he had the ability to make everyone around him smile and laugh no matter what the circumstances. So many of us at CBS News loved him and we will miss him very much.”

The CBS News release about the death of Venardos also says, "During special coverage of the events in China’s Tiananmen Square in May 1989 — broadcast live during an interruption of the CBS hit ‘Dallas,’ — millions watched the large, bespectacled Venardos arguing with Chinese officials who were trying to shut down his satellite news operation."

The release continues, "[Venardos] produced most of CBS News’ live coverage of the Persian Gulf War, including ‘America Tonight,’ a weeknight news program he created to maximize coverage of the war broadcast at 11:30 P.M. and anchored by Charles Kuralt and Lesley Stahl. Venardos also supervised coverage of world summits in Moscow, Malta, Iceland, London, Bonn, Rome, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing, in addition to Hirohito’s funeral in Japan in 1989, and the historic meeting between the leaders of China and the Soviet Union that same year in Beijing. He was the executive producer of CBS News coverage of the political campaigns of 1986, ’88, ’90, ’92 and ’98.

"Venardos’ documentary work included two highly acclaimed programs. He produced the CBS News special celebrating the life of Lucille Ball, ‘Lucy,’ which was produced and broadcast on the day of the star’s death, April 26, 1989. He won an Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University award for the seminal documentary ’48 Hours on Crack Street,’ the two-hour look at the life of crack cocaine addicts during the drug epidemic of the mid-Eighties."

The released adds, "Venardos’ path to the powerhouse CBS News Washington Bureau began at WBBM Radio in Chicago in 1968, where he was managing editor for two years. After a brief stint as an editor for NBC, he came to New York as a producer of special events for CBS Radio News in 1971. He moved to Washington D.C. the next year to become senior producer for CBS Radio News. He then returned to Chicago to become the assistant news director for the CBS Television affiliate WBBM-TV, where he became the acting news director. He came back to Washington in September 1974 to become a producer for the ‘CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite.’ "


  1. Having worked on Western Edition of the CBS Evening News out of the Network Bureau in LA the last years of Cronkite, I was very aware of the minute to minute involvement of Venardos during the preparation of the daily newscast.
    Among the many great news heads around there in those days, Lane was a charter member of that very special group.
    A few more like him today across the industry would certainly improve broadcast-cable journalism.
    God Bless him.
    Peter Bright

  2. A little late, but very sad to hear. He had a great career and was recognized fondly by many.

  3. He was a great news producer and will be missed. Sad to hear. indiana seo

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