Reese Schonfeld, Force Behind CNN and Food Network Launches, Has Died

Reese Schonfeld, who founded CNN alongside Ted Turner, and later helped launch Food Network, has died. He was 88 and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Reese Schonfeld

Reese Schonfeld

Prior to teaming up with Turner on CNN, Schonfeld ran a service that sold news packages to TV stations, according to the NY Times, called Independent Television News Association. Turner approached him about a 24-hour news channel.

Schonfeld was CNN president as it launched in 1980. He was fired by Turner a couple years later.

Schonfeld then was VP at Cablevision, helping launch News 12, which the NY Times said was the first all-news local cable network.

He then helped Food Network launch in 1993, and departed in 1995, though he remained on the board.

Schonfeld authored Me and Ted Against the World: The Unauthorized Story of the Founding of CNN.

"He loved CNN," his widow Pat O'Gorman told the network. "He was very proud of it. It was a good time for him."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.