Grant Almerin Tinker
January 11, 1926
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Died||November 28, 2016 (aged 90)|
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College|
|Occupation||Television producer and executive|
|Known for||CEO of NBC (1981–86)|
(m. 1950; div. 1962)
(m. 1962; div. 1981)
|Children||4, including Mark and John Tinker|
|Relatives||Zach Tinker (grandson)|
|Awards||Television Hall of Fame (1997)|
Grant Almerin Tinker (January 11, 1926 – November 28, 2016) was an American television executive who served as chairman and CEO of NBC from 1981 to 1986. Additionally, he was a co-founder of MTM Enterprises and a television producer.
Life and career
Tinker married Mary Tyler Moore in 1962. He left NBC in 1967 to join Universal Television, only to quit after two years in order to join 20th Century Fox Television in early 1969. In late 1969, they formed the television production company MTM Enterprises. Tinker hired Room 222 writers James L. Brooks and Allan Burns to create and produce the company's first television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Due to conflicts with running MTM, he left Fox in 1971. MTM produced such American sitcoms and drama television series as Rhoda, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, and St. Elsewhere. After his divorce from Moore in 1981, Tinker left MTM to become the chairman and CEO of NBC, then the perennial last-place American television network (in terms of Nielsen ratings and profits). During Tinker's tenure in NBC's top position, the network regained ratings and commissioned The Cosby Show, Family Ties, The Golden Girls, Cheers, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues. Tinker left the network in 1986, shortly after its parent company RCA was bought by General Electric.
After leaving NBC, Tinker tried to repeat his success with MTM by forming GTG (Grant Tinker-Gannett) Entertainment (formerly T/G Productions), but the business venture failed and the company closed in 1990. The company then partnered with CBS to create a long-term agreement to provide access to the output provided by GTG Entertainment, and it was an exclusive agreement handled between CBS and GTG. The company had also set up subsidiaries like the syndicated television branch GTG Marketing, its East Coast production arm GTG East and the West Coast production arm GTG West, with the first production being produced by the GTG East branch was a syndicated version of the popular USA Today magazine, USA Today on TV, which was distributed to syndicated markets by the GTG Marketing division.
Tinker was married three times. In 1950, he married Ruth Byerly, with whom he had three sons and a daughter: Mark (b. 1951), Mike (b. 1952), Jodie (b. 1954) and John (b. 1958). Mark and John are successful producers. Tinker's marriage to Byerly ended in divorce in 1962. Later that same year, Tinker married actress Mary Tyler Moore. This marriage also ended in divorce in 1981, though they had separated in 1979, following a 1973 breakup and patch-up. Tinker's third marriage was in 2004 to aviator Brooke Knapp, to whom he remained married until his death in 2016.
Tinker died at his Los Angeles home on November 28, 2016, at the age of 90.
Buried in Hillside Cemetery in North Adams, Massachusetts
Awards and honors
- Tinker was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997.
- In 2004, Tinker won a personal Peabody Award "for recognizing, protecting, and fostering creativity of the highest order."
- "Miss Ruth Byerly Connecticut Bride; a Bridal Couple, a Bride and an Engaged Girl". The New York Times. 1950-03-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
- "Arthur Almerin Tinker". longislandsurnames.com. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
- Naughton, Nora (2016-12-07). "Stamford's King School helped shape TV legend Grant Tinker". StamfordAdvocate. Retrieved 2022-02-12.
- McFadden, Robert D. (2016-11-30). "Grant Tinker, Former Chairman of NBC, Dies at 90; Made Network a Ratings Powerhouse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
- "Week's Headliner" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1967-02-06. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1969-03-31. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- "Tinker severs ties with Fox" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1971-01-18. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
- Kaufman, Dave (1987-01-28). "A Marriage Made In Sitcom Heaven; Tinker & CBS Pact". Variety. pp. 37, 59.
- "Tinker & GTG Ride High On 'USA Today' '88 Strip; New 'Feud' Leads Gamers". Variety. 1987-09-30. pp. 38, 114.
- Shah, Diane K. (1987-10-25). "Starting Over: Tv's Grant Tinker". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
- "Personal Award: Grant Tinker". Peabody Award. Winter 2004.
- Tinker, Grant; Rukeyser, Bud (1994). Tinker in Television: From General Sarnoff to General Electric. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0671759407.