Former NBC President Dead at 90

Jul 3, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The former president of NBC, who led the network during a period of conflict with the Nixon administration, has died, reports The New York Times. Julian Goodman was 90.

Goodman died of kidney failure, the story notes.

Goodman, known for never asking for a promotion or a raise, told The New York Times when he was named president of NBC, "I am not an ambitious man." He remained president of the network from 1966 to 1974.

He became targeted by the Nixon White House several years later, when Vice President Spiro T. Agnew accused the news media of biased coverage of the Vietnam War, the story notes.

"Evidently he would prefer a different kind of television reporting — one that would be subservient to whatever group was in authority at the time," Goodman responded.

"He later sparred with the Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan, who said the networks should be decentralized, but Mr. Goodman called that ‘dangerous thinking.’ And he resisted the administration when it threatened to challenge broadcast licenses if network news divisions did not give President Richard M. Nixon what it considered unbiased — that is, more favorable — coverage," the story notes.

He also negotiated a $1 million agreement, then a record, to keep Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show," and joined other networks in doing away with the Fairness Doctrine, the piece adds. Goodman also produced the second Nixon-Kennedy debate in 1960.

In 1968, he apologized to viewers after NBC broke off a national broadcast of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game so that "Heidi" could be aired as scheduled, according to the article. The game became known as "the Heidi Bowl."

Goodman started as a reporter in Kansas, then after serving in the Army, was hired by NBC News for the night news desk, where he replaced David Brinkley. He ended up advocating for Brinkley, and asked NBC News to pair him with Chet Huntley to anchor the 1956 Democratic and Republican conventions. The pair continued to work together as anchors on NBC’s evening news for more than 10 years, the story notes.

"Mr. Goodman often joked that freeing Mr. Brinkley from the night desk had been his greatest contribution to journalism," according to The Times.

julian-goodman.jpgJulian Goodman

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