Herbert S. Schlosser

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Herbert S. Schlosser  speaks about growing up in Atlantic City, his early interest in television, his experiences during World War II and his education.  He describes his entrée into television through his work as a lawyer at the firm of Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, & Krim that led to his hiring as general counsel and later COO for California National Productions, an NBC subsidiary that was engaged in the production and syndication of filmed television series (including Bonanza). He talks about how the company was dissolved when the government put an end to network ownership of programming. He describes his work as Vice President in charge of business affairs, where he negotiated the deals for all of the network entertainment, sports and news programming. He speaks about the beginnings of made-for-TV movies that were produced by Universal, under the auspices of Jennings Lang, the first of which were aired on NBC. He describes the deal he made for getting TV movies shown on the network and also for using them as vehicles for series pilots. He discusses his tenure as Vice President of Programs, West Coast, for which he served from the late '60s to the early '70s and speaks of his strengths and interest in developing long-form dramas and variety series. He looks back on the creation of such series as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, Emergency!, Sanford and Son, and particularly, Saturday Night Live (a show he launched). Schlosser discusses the period in which NBC began to show color programming completely. He outlines his promotions at NBC culminating in his position as President & COO from 1974-77 and President & CEO from 1977-78. He gives his impressions of NBC notables including stars Bob Hope and Johnny Carson as well as executives General David Sarnoff and Robert Kintner. He then talks about his later work as Executive Vice President of RCA Corporation (NBC's parent company) including home entertainment technology. Other subjects he discusses include: outbidding Roone Arledge for the 1964 Summer Olympics, putting African-Americans on television in lead roles and hiring Henry Kissinger as a consultant for NBC News. Lastly, Schlosser speaks about his hand in the creation of the A&E television network. Karen Herman conducted the interview in Santa Monica, California on May 10, 2007.

"My contribution to 'Saturday Night Live' was to say: 'One, let's do a show at 11:30, live sketch comedy, with young people. Two, literally ordering that such a show go on. And three, backing it. That was it.  Creatively, it was their show to do."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Herbert S. Schlosser on the genesis of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
Herbert S. Scholosser on programming NBC in the early '70s, and on having Jack Webb produce Emergency!
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson
Herbert S. Schlosser on how the advent of color impacted NBC's business dealings in the early '60s
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Jesus of Nazareth
Herbert S. Schlosser on his involvement in the creation of the A&E cable network, and on the state of cable at the time
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his studies at Princeton University; on how his studies at Princeton helped prepare him for a career in media, and on meeting his wife Judith
On his first job in television working out deals for merchandising and syndication; on the production and development of Bonanza and on doing major deals for ABC

Chapter 2

On doing the deal for the syndicated series Danger Is My Business produced by John Wayne; on meeting Grant Tinker, and on moving from syndication to NBC; on Lew Wasserman and Jennings Lang at Universal packaging the first made-for-television movies for NBC, including The Killers
On NBC president Robert E. Kintner, and on making a deal with Universal to use made-for-television moves as series pilots; on how the advent of color impacted NBC's business dealings in the early '60s; on NBC's negotiations with Universal, and on David Sarnoff

Chapter 3

On David Sarnoff; on negotiating for NBC's broadcast of the Olympics
On Robert E. Kinter and Grant Tinker, and on becoming west coast vice president of programming; on his philosophy of programming; on the genesis of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In

Chapter 4

On programming Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and on the show being a huge hit for NBC; on programming NBC in the early '70s, and on having Jack Webb produce Emergency!; on programming Sanford and Son, a big hit for NBC, and The Flip Wilson Show
On NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson; on programming and developing Star Trek; on his role in getting more African-Americans on television with shows like I Spy and Julia

Chapter 5

On programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television; on the FCC's role in regulating broadcasting; on being promoted to executive vice president of NBC network, and on how the network was structured
On how Saturday Night Live came to be, and on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder; on his role on Saturday Night Live once it started; on Saturday Night Live dealing with NBC standards and practices

Chapter 6

On Chevy Chase leaving Saturday Night Live after his first year; on his biggest contribution to Saturday Night Live; on his day-to-day duties as president of NBC
On his managerial style as a television executive; on Fred Silverman's tenure at NBC

Chapter 7

On the news division at NBC; on brining Henry Kissinger to NBC; on programming and developing Jesus of Nazareth
On programming and developing Holocaust; on his legacy at NBC; on the RCA technology that was utilized when he started at NBC, and how it developed over time

Chapter 8

On his involvement in the creation of the A&E cable network, and on the state of cable at the time; on leaving RCA, and on on serving on the board of the Museum of the Moving Image; on his family
On the extent to which television has lived up to its potential; on advice to an aspiring television executive; on the qualities he looked for when hiring a television executive, and on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Bob Hope Specials

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson

Bonanza

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on the production and development of Bonanza, and on negotiating deals

Danger Is My Business

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on doing the deal for the syndicated series Danger Is My Business produced by John Wayne

Emergency!

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming NBC in the early '70s, and on having Jack Webb produce Emergency!

Flip Wilson Show, The

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming The Flip Wilson Show, and on other NBC variety shows

Holocaust

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Holocaust

Jesus of Nazareth

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Jesus of Nazareth

Julia

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television

Killers, The

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on Lew Wasserman and Jennings Lang at Universal packaging the first made-for-television movies for NBC, including The Killers

Olympics

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's negotiations to broadcast the Olympics in 1964

Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on the genesis of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and on the show being a huge hit for NBC

Sanford and Son

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Sanford and Son, a big hit for NBC

Saturday Night Live

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on how Saturday Night Live came to be, and on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder
Herbert S. Schlosser on his role on Saturday Night Live once it started
Herbert S. Schlosser on Saturday Night Live dealing with NBC standards and practices
Herbert S. Schlosser on Chevy Chase leaving Saturday Night Live after his first year
Herbert S. Schlosser on his biggest contribution to Saturday Night Live, and on the longevity of the show

Star Trek

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Star Trek

Tomorrow (1973-82)

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on how Saturday Night Live, produced by Lorne Michaels, came to be, and on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

View Show Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on advice to an aspiring television executive

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on Saturday Night Live dealing with NBC standards and practices

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on his role in getting more African-Americans on television with shows like I Spy and Julia
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on his role in getting more African-Americans on television with shows like I Spy and Julia
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television

Minorities

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on his role in getting more African-Americans on television with shows like I Spy and Julia
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television

Network Creation

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on his involvement in the creation of the A&E cable network, and on the state of cable at the time

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on how the advent of color impacted NBC's business dealings in the early '60s
Herbert S. Schlosser on the RCA technology that was utilized when he started at NBC, and how it developed over time

Television Industry

View Topic
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's negotiations with Universal, and on David Sarnoff
Herbert S. Schlosser on the FCC's role in regulating broadcasting
Herbert S. Schlosser on Saturday Night Live dealing with NBC standards and practices
Herbert S. Schlosser on his involvement in the creation of the A&E cable network, and on the state of cable at the time
Herbert S. Schlosser on the extent to which television has lived up to its potential
Herbert S. Schlosser on advice to an aspiring television executive
Professions

Executives

View Profession
Herbert S. Schlosser on his philosophy of programming
Herbert S. Schlosser on his day-to-day duties as president of NBC
Herbert S. Schlosser on his managerial style as a television executive
Herbert S. Schlosser on the qualities he looked for when hiring a television executive, and on how he'd like to be remembered
Herbert S. Schlosser on advice to an aspiring television executive

Television Executive

View Profession
Herbert S. Schlosser on his philosophy of programming
Herbert S. Schlosser on his day-to-day duties as president of NBC, and on the issues he faced during his tenure
Herbert S. Schlosser on his managerial style as a television executive
Herbert S. Schlosser on the qualities he looked for when hiring a television executive, and on how he'd like to be remembered
Herbert S. Schlosser on advice to an aspiring television executive
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Herbert S. Scholosser on programming Sanford and Son, a big hit for NBC
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Julia, and on African-American representation on television

Medical Dramas

View Genre
Herbert S. Scholosser on programming NBC in the early '70s, and on having Jack Webb produce Emergency!

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Herbert S. Schlosser on the genesis of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and on the show being a huge hit for NBC
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming The Flip Wilson Show, and on other NBC variety shows
Herbert S. Schlosser on Saturday Night Live

News and Documentary

View Genre
Herbert S. Schlosser on the news division at NBC

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Star Trek

Sports

View Genre
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's negotiations to broadcast the Olympics in 1964

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Herbert S. Schlosser on Lew Wasserman and Jennings Lang at Universal packaging the first made-for-television movies for NBC, including The Killers
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Jesus of Nazareth
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming and developing Holocaust
People

Johnny Carson

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson

Chevy Chase

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on Chevy Chase leaving Saturday Night Live after his first year

Bob Hope

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's relationship with Bob Hope and Johnny Carson

Robert E. Kintner

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC president Robert E. Kintner, and on making a deal with Universal to use made-for-television moves as series pilots
Herbert S. Schlosser on Robert E. Kinter and Grant Tinker, and on becoming west coast vice president of programming

Henry Kissinger

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on brining Henry Kissinger to NBC

Lorne Michaels

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on how Saturday Night Live, produced by Lorne Michaels, came to be, and on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder

David Sarnoff

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on NBC's negotiations with Universal, and on David Sarnoff
Herbert S. Schlosser on General David Sarnoff

Fred Silverman

View Interview Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on Fred Silverman's tenure at NBC

Grant Tinker

View Interview Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on meeting Grant Tinker, and on moving from syndication to network to NBC
Herbert S. Schlosser on Robert E. Kinter and Grant Tinker, and on becoming west coast vice president of programming

Jack Webb

View Person Page
Herbert S. Schlosser on programming NBC in the early '70s, and on having Jack Webb produce Emergency!

All Interviews

Q
S