TV Executive Who, 20 Years Ago, Convinced David Letterman to Jump to CBS From NBC Is Retiring. Though He Later Ran One of the Biggest Consumer Electronics and Media Companies in the World, It May Be That He’ll Best Be Remembered For His CBS-Letterman Coup

Mar 11, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The TV executive credited with convincing David Letterman to move to CBS from NBC 20 years ago is retiring.

That executive is Sir Howard Stringer, 71, who later went on to run Sony. He is currently Sony’s chairman.

“Howard Stringer, who fought to bring a divided and struggling Sony Corporation together as the company’s first foreign president, is retiring as chairman in June,” the Associated Press reports.

The story adds, “Mr. Stringer, a Welsh-born American and 15-year employee at Sony, became president and chief executive in 2005, when the once glorious maker of the Walkman music player was starting to get overwhelmed by the flashier Apple and the nimbler Samsung Electronics.

“The company, which makes the PlayStation 3 game console as well as ‘Spider-Man’ movies, is still struggling. It has lost money for the last four years and recorded the biggest loss in its 67-year history for the fiscal year ending in March 2012.”

Stringer had happier days before he joined Sony, especially during his 30-year run as a journalist, producer and executive at CBS.

Notes his official Sony biography, “As President of CBS from 1988 to 1995, he was responsible for all broadcast activities of the company, including entertainment, news, sports, and its radio and television stations. Under his leadership, the CBS Television Network became the first network to rise from last to first place in one season. In 1993, in what became one of the most chronicled coups in television history, Sir Howard convinced David Letterman to bring his critically acclaimed late night show to CBS.”

The official bio continues, “From 1986 to 1988, Sir Howard served as President of CBS News, where he developed several new programs, including the award-winning ’48 Hours,’ which continues as a primetime hit to this day.

“Prior to that, during his tenure as executive producer of the ‘CBS Evening News with Dan Rather’ from 1981 to 1984, that program became the dominant network evening newscast of its day. From 1976 to 1981, while he was executive producer of the ‘CBS Reports’ documentary unit, it won virtually every major broadcast journalism honor, including 31 Emmys, four Peabody Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Christopher Awards, three Overseas Press Club Awards, an ABA Silver Gavel and a Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize.”

howard stringer.jpg

Sir Howard Stringer

YouTube clip (not the best quality) of David Letterman’s first monologue on CBS in 1993:


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