Richard Leibner, Agent to TV News Stars, Plans To Retire

Richard Leibner
Richard Leibner (Image credit: UTA)

Richard Leibner, who helped reshape TV news by representing its best known and highest paid anchors, announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

Over the course of his career, Leibner’s clients included Eric Severaid, Bill Whitaker, Dan Rather, Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Morley Safer, and Diane Sawyer.

He sold his agency, N.S. Bienstock, to UTA in 2014.

Carole Cooper, Leibner’s wife and partner, also a top agent, continues to work at UTA representing Anderson Cooper, Dan Abrams, Bill Hemmer, Dana Bash, and Juju Chang.

Cooper and Leibner were inducted into the Broadcasting+Cable Hall of Fame in 2018.

“Richard’s impact has been unmatched. In the 1960’s, he navigated the revolution in the news business. He was a leader shaping the days when the big three network anchors reigned supreme. Through the birth and expansion of cable news, syndication, unscripted TV, and the internet, Richard has influenced and helped drive the advent of countless diverse faces and viewpoints in front of and behind the camera,” said UTA co-president Jay Sures in a staff memo.

Leibner influenced the news business by helping to put Dan Rather in the CBS News anchor chair, replacing Walter Cronkite. He also helped move Diane Sawyer to ABC News.

“Throughout his career, Richard has represented one major news figure after another, building them up, helping make them household names and playing an important role ensuring journalism always stood for something meaningful, ethical and about high quality,” Sures said.

Sures said that Leiber intends to focus on charitable endeavors at the helm of the Leibner-Cooper Family Foundation. ■

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.