The Tartikoff touch

Nov 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Brandon Tartikoff, NBC’s programming wunderkind, was only 30 when he became president of the network during a ratings nadir in 1980 and subsequently resuscitated it with “Hill Street Blues,” “Cheers,” “L.A. Law,” “The Cosby Show” and “Family Ties.”
His programming decisions took the network from last (well, third in a three-network universe) to first place, where it remained for five consecutive seasons.
Mr. Tartikoff graduated from Yale in 1970. After a series of jobs in advertising and local television, his meteoric rise began when he was hired as ABC’s director of dramatic development in 1976. He joined NBC a year later as director of comedy programming.
Mr. Tartikoff died on Aug. 27, 1997, after a 15-year battle with Hodgkin’s disease. He was only 48, but had made the contribution of someone decades older.