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TV Pioneer Chet Collier Dies

Veteran producer and cable news pioneer Chet Collier died Wednesday in Florida after a long illness. He was 80. 

Collier’s death was reported Wednesday afternoon by Fox News’ Shepard Smith on Studio B. Collier, a longtime associate of Fox News chief Roger Ailes, had helped to launch the News Corp.-owned cable news network in 1996 and served as executive vice president.

An Emmy Award-winning producer for The Mike Douglas Show, where he hired a young Ailes to be his assistant, Collier also worked with the likes of Steve Allen, Merv Griffin and Regis Philbin. He later worked with Ailes at CNBC and the MSNBC-precursor America’s Talking before following Ailes to FNC.

In announcing Collier’s death, Smith read a portion of an email statement from Ailes, which appears here in full courtesy of TV Newser:

It is with great sadness that I must announce that one of the great leaders of television, Chet Collier, passed away a short time ago in Florida . He had been battling illness for awhile and when I went to see him for two days over the Fourth of July week, he was still watching Fox News Channel every hour of the day. He was also still giving me good advice. He loved Fox News and was very proud of the accomplishments here. He never took any credit for himself, but we couldn't have accomplished everything we did without him. 

I do not know any more details at the moment, but I believe next month we'll put together a memorial service here in New York . My condolences to his wife Dottie and his family. Godspeed Chet. We'll miss you.