July 28, 1947
Torrington, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||American television executive NBC|
|Spouse(s)||Susan Stafford (1976–1981)|
Susan Saint James (1981–present)
|Children||3, including Charlie Ebersol|
He and Josiah Bunting III are half-brothers. In 1967, at the age of twenty, Ebersol began his long history with the Olympics when he temporarily dropped out of Yale University to join Roone Arledge and ABC Sports as television's first-ever Olympic researcher.
Move to NBC
In 1974, he joined NBC as Director of Weekend Late Night Programming. In 1975 Ebersol and Lorne Michaels conceived and developed Saturday Night Live. Named as Vice President of Late Night Programming at age 28, Ebersol became NBC's first vice president under the age of 30. After a brief departure, he returned to SNL in 1981 as executive producer and remained until 1985, spanning the Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal eras.
Together with Vince McMahon, Ebersol produced Saturday Night's Main Event. When Ebersol left SNL in 1985, he devoted his time to his production company until rejoining NBC in 1989. He served as senior vice president of NBC News.
Ebersol's early tenure at NBC Sports was highlighted by a string of sports-property acquisitions and renewals, including the NFL, NBA, Notre Dame football and MLB, through the formation of the joint-venture Baseball Network.
During the 1995–96 television season, for the only time in history, the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals and Summer Olympics were telecast by the same network. It was following this run in 1996 that The Sporting News named Ebersol the "Most Powerful Person in Sports." By January 1998, NBC had become the home of four Super Bowls in six years.
In 1993, he secured the rights to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
In August 1995, he acquired the rights for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It marked the first time that rights for consecutive Olympics were awarded at the same time. Later that same year, he spearheaded NBC Sports' acquisition of the exclusive media rights for the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2006 Winter Olympics.
In December 2003, Ebersol agreed to a nine-year contract to continue running NBC Sports & Olympics through 2012. He assumed the title as Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics in May 2004 when NBC and Universal merged.
- the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 (the most-watched event in U.S. television history with a record 215 million viewers)
- the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010 (second-most watched Winter Olympics in history with 190 million viewers)
- Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009 produced, at the time, the largest-single audience in U.S. television history with a record 152 million viewers.
It is currently the second-most viewed program of all time. The Super Bowl milestone was made possible in 2005 when Ebersol spearheaded the effort to return the NFL to NBC by negotiating a six-year agreement that included moving the NFL primetime broadcast package from Monday night to Sunday night, flexible scheduling for the first time ever, and Super Bowls in 2009 and 2012
On May 19, 2011, Ebersol resigned from NBC Sports. The New York Times stated that he intended to stay at NBC through the end of June 2011. It was later reported that Ebersol would return to NBC Sports in time for the beginning of the 2011 NFL season to serve in a senior adviser role.
Alliance of American Football
Ebersol served on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of American Football, a professional American football league co-founded by his son Charlie and Bill Polian. Ebersol and his son were both ousted from the board of directors when Thomas Dundon purchased the league.
Awards and honors
Ebersol has often been in the top 10 honorees on The Sporting News' annual list of the 100 most powerful sports figures, including in 1996 when he was named the Most Powerful Person in Sports. In 1992, Ebersol was awarded the Olympic Order, an honor periodically bestowed by the International Olympic Committee to recognize remarkable contributions to the Olympic Movement.
In 2008, NBC won the Peabody Award for its coverage of the Beijing Opening Ceremony along with Chinese film director Zhang Yimou, who served as the event's creative director. At the 2009 SportsBusiness Journal awards ceremony, Ebersol won Sports Executive of the Year and NBC Sports won Best in Sports Television.
On April 27, 2009, the six "Commissioners of American Sport" – Roger Goodell (NFL), David Stern (NBA), Bud Selig (MLB), Gary Bettman (NHL), Tim Finchem (PGA Tour) and Brian France (NASCAR) – were part of a presentation that concluded with Muhammad Ali awarding Ebersol the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
In May 2010, Ebersol was the commencement speaker at Sacred Heart University for its graduating class of 2010. He was presented with a Doctor of Humane Letters by University President Anthony J. Cernera.
Ebersol was previously married to former Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford from 1976 to 1981. They had no children. He has been married to actress Susan Saint James since 1981. They have three children together, Charlie, Willie, and Teddy, who died in a plane crash in 2004. Saint James has two children from a previous marriage.
2004 plane crash
On November 28, 2004, a private charter jet, a Bombardier Challenger CL-600, carrying Ebersol and two of his sons, Charlie and Teddy, crashed during an attempted takeoff from Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado. The jet's captain, Luis Polanco, flight attendant Warren T. Richardson III, and Teddy Ebersol were killed. Dick and his older son, Charlie, along with the first officer, survived, though seriously injured. Charlie was thrown clear of the plane and rushed back inside and managed to pull his father to safety.
Selected list of shows produced by Ebersol
- Football Night in America
- Friday Night Videos
- Midnight Special
- Later with Bob Costas
- Saturday Night Live
- Saturday Night's Main Event
- 2008 Summer Olympics
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- "Diana Cunningham Will Marry in Peru". The New York Times. August 17, 1965.
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- Sandomir, Richard (July 29, 1993). "OLYMPICS; Sure Thing: Ebersol Guarantees Profit on NBC's Winning Olympics Bid". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Sandomir, Richard. "OLYMPICS;$2.3 Billion Deal To Give NBC Rights To Future Olympics". nytimes.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
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- "Scorecard: Healer Dealer", Sports Illustrated, April 27, 2005
- Carter, Bill; Sandomir, Richard (May 19, 2011). "Dick Ebersol Resigns from NBC Sports". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- Carter, Bill; Sandomir, Richard (August 30, 2011). "Ebersol to Rejoin NBC Sports as a Senior Adviser". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- Barnett, Josh (March 20, 2018). "Bill Polian to help form new spring pro football league". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- Orr, Conor (May 1, 2019). "League on Fire: The Curious Rise and Spectacular Crash of the Alliance of American Football". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
- Olympic Order, la84foundation.org; accessed August 20, 2017.
- Mihoces, Gary (December 8, 2005). "Yamaguchi part of Olympic Hall class". USA Today. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- "B&C Picks 10 for Hall of Fame", Broadcasting and Cable, July 17, 2005
- Peabody Awards (April 1, 2009) Archived May 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine "Complete List of 2008 Peabody Award Winners" (press release)
- Eggerton, John (May 29, 2009). "NBCU, Dick Ebersol Honored By SportsBusiness Journal". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- "Sacred Heart University Summer Magazine, Summer 2010". Sacred Heart University. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- "RTDNA Announces 2014 Paul White Award Winner". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
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- "National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Final Report, Accident Number DEN05MA029". NTSB. May 3, 2006. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
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- Upton, Mike (December 13, 2004). "Fatal Flight". People.
- "Dedication of Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields". RedSox.com. June 8, 2006. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Museum of Broadcast Communications: Dick Ebersol, museum.tv; accessed August 20, 2017.
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- Dick Ebersol on IMDb
- NBC's Ebersol Puts His Games Face On, Comes Up a Winner, washingtonpost.com; accessed August 20, 2017.
- PEACOCK POWER, sportsillustrated.cnn.com; accessed August 20, 2017.
- Dick Ebersol at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television