Robert Wussler, the longtime Turner Broadcasting System and CBS executive, died on June 5.
Wussler passed in his Westport, Conn. residence after a long illness. He was 73
Born on Sept. 8, 1936 in Newark, N.J., Wussler, a graduate of Seton Hall University, is survived by his children: Jeanne, Christopher, Stefanie, Sally, Rob and Rosemary; and his grandchildren: Emmett, Maeve, Hope, Whittaker, Griffin and Taite.
Wussler began his career at CBS in 1957 as a mailroom clerk and ascended to become the president of The Tiffany Network and president of CBS Sports.
Within weeks of joining CBS, he became a production assistant in the news department, where he spent the next 15 years, attaining the position of executive producer and director of special events. During his tenure, his produced thousands of hours of network programming, gaining a reputation for innovation in covering such seminal events as the assassinations and funerals of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King; Richard Nixon's historic trip to China; presidential campaigns, conventions and elections; and the U.S. space program, including the moon landing and the Apollo 11 flight.
From 1972-1974, Wussl served as general manager of WBBM-TV, the CBS-owned station in Chicago. He then returned to the network as vice president, CBS Sports, where he created The NFL Today, and redefined programming partnerships with the NBA and professional golf. In 1976, he was named the youngest-ever head of a major network.
In 1978, Wussler formed his own production company, Pyramid Enterprises, which created syndicated programming for the international marketplace, specializing in Japan, France and the former Soviet Union.
Two years later, Ted Turner recruited Wussler to join Turner Broadcasting System in its Atlanta headquarters. Over the next decade, Wussler provided broad leadership and business management to CNN, Headline News, WTBS Super Station, TNT, the Atlanta Braves and Hawks, the Goodwill Games and TBS Sports. As senior executive vice president, he managed all TBS staff functions.
From 1989-1992, Wussler was president and CEO of Comsat Video Enterprises, where he conceived strategies built on advanced market and distribution concepts for CVE as the largest provider of satellite-delivered entertainment to the U.S. lodging industry. This included managing the acquisition of the National Basketball Association's Denver Nuggets.
In 1992, he formed The Wussler Group, where he spent the past two decades consulting and managing a broad range of domestic and international business arrangements, and creating programming for syndication, network, cable and Internet platforms. During this time, he also served as an officer of Command Performance Network, Affiliate Enterprises and US Digital Communications.
Over the course of his career, Wussler won seven national Emmy Awards, including the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Trustees (NATAS) Award, four Awards for Cable Excellence (ACE) and the National Cable Television Association President's Award. He served on numerous boards, including NATAS (two terms as chairman), NCTA, the National Academy of Cable Programming, the Cousteau Society, the Washington Performing Arts Society, Seton Hall University, the University of Georgia School of Journalism and Howard University.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to support Paliative Care or Cancer Research at Yale-New Haven Hospital, PO Box 1849, New Haven, CT, 06508; or the Comprehensive Pain Center at the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation, 1121 SW Salmon Street, Suite 100, Portland, Oregon, 97205.
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