Michael King—who with his brother, Roger, launched such massive hits into syndication as Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil—has died at the age of 67.
King died after contracting a bad case of pneumonia while on vacation in France, according to TMZ. He had been in intensive care at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and was finally taken off life support on Wednesday.
King’s brother, Roger, passed away in December 2007 at the age of 63.
“Michael King is a friend that will be sorely missed. Anyone that knew Michael knows what a passion he brought to everything he touched. He and Roger certainly had a profound impact on my life personally and professionally. Robin and I are praying for the entire King family in this time of loss," said Dr. Phil McGraw in a statement.
Roger and Michael inherited King World Productions from their father, Charles King. In the early days of syndication, they licensed two Merv Griffin-produced game shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, and sold them to stations. The two shows grew into the enormous hits, and money makers, that remain on the air today. King World also sold The Oprah Winfrey Show into national syndication, and later, Oprah spin-offs Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray in conjunction with Winfrey’s Harpo Productions.
King is survived by his wife and four children, as well as two brothers and two sisters.
Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.
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