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Grant Tinker, Former NBC Exec and MTM Founder, Dies at 90

Legendary Producer Responsible for Hit Shows in the Caliber of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show,' 'Hill Street Blues' and 'St. Elsewhere'

Grant Tinker, who combined the rare combination of quality and patience to program NBC in primetime, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90.

Born Jan. 11, 1926 in Stamford, Connecticut, Tinker married actress Mary Tyler Moore in 1962, and in 1969 they formed the television production company MTM Enterprises. While creating MTM, Tinker hired “Room 222” writers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns to create and produce the company’s first television series, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Other notable titles in the MTM programming stable included “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Rhoda,” “WKRP in Cincinnati,” “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere.”

After his divorce from Mary Tyler Moore in 1981, Tinker left MTM to become the chairman and CEO of NBC, which under his tenure featured hit programs like “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” “The Golden Girls,” “Cheers,” “Night Court” and “Hill Street Blues.” After NBC, Tinker attempted to tackle first-run syndication in 1988 in daily half-hour strip “USA Today on Television,” based on the newspaper of the same name under production banner GTG (Grant Tinker-Gannett), but the stripped series, and the company, folded in 1990.

In 1994, Tinker wrote a book with Bud Rukeyser titled “Tinker in Television.” That same year, he won a personal Peabody Award “for recognizing, protecting, and fostering creativity of the highest order. In 1997, Tinker was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.