Herb Jellinek

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-hour Archive interview, Herb Jellinek talks about his 37-year tenure at ABC from 1952-89, where he rose through the ranks from billing clerk in the Accounting Department to Vice President in charge of production for ABC Entertainment and ABC Circle Films. He speaks in detail about ABC executives Leonard H. Goldenson, Elton Rule, Edgar Scherick, Si Siegal, Michael Eisner, Fred Silverman, and Barry Diller. He talks about ABC series ranging from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to Soap. Jellinek discusses several noteworthy television movies and miniseries he oversaw at ABC Circle Films, including Love Among the Ruins (in which he fondly recalled working with Katharine Hepburn) and War and Remembrance. He concludes by recalling his association with the Televison Academy where he served as CFO (and later Executive Vice President) from 1991 to 2003. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on March 4, 2005 in Tarzana, CA.

"ABC was our family. When that family changed it became Capital Cities, it wasn't the same anymore. We'd started at nothing and we all built this company up and we had great affection for the company, and we felt strange it being owned by somebody else now. I'm sure Leonard Goldenson felt the same way."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Herb Jellinek on the relationship between ABC's Leonard H. Goldenson and Walt Disney
Herb Jellinek on Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis
Herb Jellinek on The Day After
Herb Jellinek on his family fleeing Austria for the United States, and his father being in a concentration camp
Herb Jellinek on War and Remembrance, starring Robert Mitchum
Herb Jellinek on the sale of ABC to Capital Cities in 1985, and on his retirement from ABC
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences
On his family fleeing Austria for the United States, and his father being in a concentration camp; on why his family chose to come to the United States, and on settling in the US; on his early impressions arriving in New York, and on finding a job in the city

Chapter 2

On his decision to come to the United States from Vienna; on going to work as a gopher for ABC and his first experiences seeing television; on the state of ABC radio and television when he arrived, and on what he learned in his early years there
On the dire financial state of ABC when he first arrived, and how it eventually emerged as a competitor due to Leonard H. Goldenson; on his marriage in 1953; on becoming assistant supervisor of cost accounting at ABC in 1955

Chapter 3

On the financial specifics of ABC in the 1950s, and the shows on the air there at the time; on The Lawrence Welk Show, and on the different formats shows were shot in; on the relationship between ABC's Leonard H. Goldenson and Walt Disney
On ABC's coverage of the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings; on how ABC created the business model for television networks; on his various positions moving up the ranks of ABC

Chapter 4

On organizing the budgets for ABC; on ITT's attempted takeover of ABC; on working with ABC President Elton H. Rule, and on moving back to New York
On becoming head of production at ABC Circle Films and on working with Barry Diller; on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier

Chapter 5

On ABC Circle Films' production of Eleanor and Franklin and art director Jan Scott; on ABC Circle Films' production of The Jericho Mile; on ABC Circle Films' production of Ike: The War Years, and on The Day After
On War and Remembrance, starring Robert Mitchum

Chapter 6

On Jane Seymour in War and Remembrance and other members of the cast and crew; on overseeing production for ABC Motion Pictures, ABC's then-feature film division, and on the feature "Young Doctors in Love"; on various ABC Motion pictures productions
On Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis; on being vice president in charge of entertainment for ABC in the '80s; on Soap
On the sale of ABC to Capital Cities in 1985, and on his retirement from ABC; on Leonard H. Goldenson's role at ABC after the sale to Capital Cities

Chapter 7

On various people with whom he's worked in his career; on coming to work with the Television Academy; on the staff he worked with at the Television Academy
On ABC getting the Emmys for three years starting in 1993, and on the "wheel" agreement; on adding an Emmy category for commercials, and on the Television Academy's relationship with the National Academy; on the growth of the Television Academy during his tenure, and on the then-future of the Academy
On his management style and on what he enjoyed about working for ABC

Chapter 8

On the nature of the competition between the networks during his tenure at ABC; on William S. Paley and Thomas W. Sarnoff; on how he would like to be remembered
On b-roll footage from his career- during the production of Love Among the Ruins; during the production of War and Remembrance with Dan Curtis; in London at Pinewood Studios with George Cukor; autographed photo of George Cukor; with Laurence Olivier; with Katharine Hepburn; with Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor
Shows

Day After, The

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Herb Jellinek on The Day After

Eleanor and Franklin

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Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' Eleanor and Franklin
Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' production of Eleanor and Franklin and art director Jan Scott

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Herb Jellinek on ABC getting the The Emmy Awards for three years starting in 1993, and on the "wheel" agreement

Ike: The War Years

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Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' production of Ike: The War Years

Lawrence Welk Show, The

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Herb Jellinek on The Lawrence Welk Show, and on the different formats shows were shot in

Love Among the Ruins

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Herb Jellinek on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier

Moonlighting

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Herb Jellinek on Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

Soap

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Herb Jellinek on Soap

War and Remembrance

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Herb Jellinek on War and Remembrance, starring Robert Mitchum
Herb Jellinek on Jane Seymour in War and Remembrance and other members of the cast and crew
Topics

Cold War

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Herb Jellinek on The Day After

Emmy Awards

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Herb Jellinek on ABC getting the The Emmy Awards for three years starting in 1993, and on the "wheel" agreement
Herb Jellinek on adding an The Emmy Awards category for commercials, and on the Television Academy's relationship with the National Academy

Historic Events and Social Change

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Herb Jellinek on The Day After

Hollywood Blacklist

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Herb Jellinek on ABC's coverage of the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings

Industry Crossroads

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Herb Jellinek on ABC's coverage of the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings

Media Consolidation

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Herb Jellinek on the sale of ABC to Capital Cities in 1985, and on his retirement from ABC
Herb Jellinek on Leonard H. Goldenson's role at ABC after the sale to Capital Cities

Television Industry

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Herb Jellinek on the dire financial state of ABC when he first arrived, and how it eventually emerged as a competitor due to Leonard H. Goldenson
Herb Jellinek on the financial specifics of ABC in the '50s, and the shows on the air there at the time
Herb Jellinek on ABC's coverage of the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings
Herb Jellinek on how ABC created the business model for television networks
Herb Jellinek on becoming assistant director of sales service for ABC in 1958
Herb Jellinek on becoming cost control administer at ABC and on moving to Los Angeles
Herb Jellinek on organizing the budgets for ABC
Herb Jellinek on ITT's attempted takeover of ABC
Herb Jellinek on becoming head of production at ABC Circle Films and on working with Barry Diller
Herb Jellinek on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier
Herb Jellinek on overseeing production for ABC Motion Pictures, ABC's then-feature film division, and on the feature "Young Doctors in Love"
Herb Jellinek on the ABC Motion Pictures' production "Prizzi's Honor," and on their business model
Herb Jellinek on various ABC Motion Pictures features including "The Flamingo Kid," "Silkwood," and "Space Camp"
Herb Jellinek on being vice president in charge of entertainment for ABC in the 1980s
Herb Jellinek on the sale of ABC to Capital Cities in 1985, and on his retirement from ABC
Herb Jellinek on Leonard H. Goldenson's role at ABC after the sale to Capital Cities
Herb Jellinek on the nature of the competition between the networks during his tenure at ABC

War

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Herb Jellinek on The Day After
Professions

Executives

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Herb Jellinek on his management style and on what he enjoyed about working for ABC
Genres

Awards Shows

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Herb Jellinek on The Emmy Awards

Comedy Series

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Herb Jellinek on Soap

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Herb Jellinek on Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Herb Jellinek on The Lawrence Welk Show, and on the different formats shows were shot in

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' Eleanor and Franklin
Herb Jellinek on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier
Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' production of Eleanor and Franklin and art director Jan Scott
Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' production of Ike: The War Years
Herb Jellinek on The Day After
Herb Jellinek on War and Remembrance, starring Robert Mitchum
Herb Jellinek on Jane Seymour in War and Remembrance and other members of the cast and crew
People

Roone Arledge

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Roone Arledge

James T. Aubrey

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: James T. Aubrey

Barry Diller

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Herb Jellinek on becoming head of production at ABC Circle Films and on working with Barry Diller

Walt Disney

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Herb Jellinek on the relationship between ABC's Leonard H. Goldenson and Walt Disney

Michael Eisner

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Michael Eisner

Leonard Goldberg

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Leonard Goldberg

Leonard H. Goldenson

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Herb Jellinek on the dire financial state of ABC when he first arrived, and how it eventually emerged as a competitor due to Leonard H. Goldenson
Herb Jellinek on the relationship between ABC's Leonard H. Goldenson and Walt Disney
Herb Jellinek on Leonard H. Goldenson's role at ABC after the sale to Capital Cities

Katharine Hepburn

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Herb Jellinek on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier

Robert Mitchum

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Herb Jellinek on War and Remembrance, starring Robert Mitchum

Laurence Olivier

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Herb Jellinek on the vision of ABC Circle Films and on the various programming it produced including Love Among the Ruins starring Katharine Hepburn and Laurence Olivier

William S. Paley

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Herb Jellinek on William S. Paley

Elton H. Rule

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Herb Jellinek on working with ABC President Elton H. Rule, and on moving back to New York

Thomas W. Sarnoff

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Herb Jellinek on Thomas W. Sanroff

Jan Scott

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Herb Jellinek on ABC Circle Films' production of Eleanor and Franklin and art director Jan Scott

Jane Seymour

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Herb Jellinek on Jane Seymour in War and Remembrance and other members of the cast and crew

Cybill Shepherd

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Herb Jellinek on Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

Fred Silverman

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Fred Silverman

Brandon Stoddard

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Brandon Stoddard

Oliver E. Treyz

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Herb Jellinek on various people with whom he's worked in his career: Oliver E. Treyz

Bruce Willis

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Herb Jellinek on Moonlighting, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis

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