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Late Sen. Johnny Isakson Who Promoted TV, Film Production, Artist Rights, Dead at 76

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., looks on during the mark up of the Senate's tax reform bill in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., looks on during the mark up of the Senate's tax reform bill in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (Image credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

TV and movie producers mourned the death of former Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Isakson, a Republican and former member of the Communications Subcommittee that oversees the FCC, died December 19 at age 76. He had various health issues including Parkinson's. He retired after 15 years in Congress in 2019.

Isakson had been active in promoting TV and film production in the state, including pushing for legislation allowing investors in TV and film production in the state to write off expenditures on their federal taxes in the year the project was made.

He also co-sponsored a Senate bill back in 2018 that created a framework for better compensating artists for digital plays of their music and making it easier for music rights organizations to collect those fees from distributors of streamed music.

“We’re saddened today to learn of the passing of Johnny Isakson, the distinguished former Senator from Georgia and longtime friend of the film and TV industry," said Motion Picture Association chairman Charles Rivkin. "We send our deepest condolences to his wife Dianne, his three children and his nine grandchildren.

"Senator Isakson was a true statesman and champion of our industry throughout his remarkable career in Congress. We are grateful for his leadership and many important contributions on behalf of the creative community, including his support for economic policies that helped build a vibrant and opportunity rich production industry in Georgia.” ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.