Don Ohlmeyer, TV Producer and Executive, Dies at 72

Don Ohlmeyer, a top TV producer and executive, died Sunday of cancer. He was 72.

Ohlmeyer came up the ranks as a sports producer, working on Monday Night Football at ABC.

He moved to NBC, where he was put in charge of the network’s West Coast operation and pushed NBC into a dominant position with “Must See TV” hits including ER, Seinfeld, Friends and Frasier.

Ohlmeyer also had a role in choosing Jay Leno over David Letterman to succeed Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.

He left NBC in 1999.

Ohlmeyer was a big personality who sometimes got himself in trouble, sometimes with drinking, sometimes with statements he made. He was also known as a friend of O.J. Simpson, and defended the former football star when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.