R.I.P. Grant Tinker, famous TV executive and co-founder of MTM Enterprises

By: H&I Staff     Posted: November 30, 2016, 12:20PM

Image: Wikimedia 

Grant Tinker, best known as the famous television executive who founded MTM Enterprises with Mary Tyler Moore, passed away Monday at the age of 90.

Tinker started his career in television in the 1950s as an operations manager at NBC. In the 1960s, he moved up as a vice president at the network, then jumped to Universal and 20th Century Fox by the end of the decade. 

Tinker's career reached new heights with the creation of MTM Enterprises in 1969. He co-founded the independent production company with Moore, who was also his wife at the time.

The company was responsible for some of the most popular and well-received programs of the disco decade. 

Seeking a starring vehicle for Moore after her acclaimed run on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Tinker enlisted two of the industry's best writers for new sitcom. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a hit off the bat, winning a record 29 Emmy Awards.  

The critical acclaim for the production company continued, with shows like The Bob Newhart Show, Lou Grant and Rhoda commanding strong ratings and dozens of awards throughout the '70s.

In 1981, Tinker became the Chairman and CEO of NBC. Under Tinker's five-year tenure, he helped turn around the struggling network by sticking with shows like Cheers and Family Ties, which were started slow but eventually amassed a huge following.

Other successful sitcoms like The Cosby Show and The Golden Girls followed, putting NBC back on top and setting it up to become the most profitable network in the 1990s, during the height of "Must See TV."

At the same time, MTM Enterprises continued to produce hit after hit, including Hill Street Blues, Remington Steele and St. Elsewhere. By that time, however, Tinker had left the company after his divorce from Moore in 1981. The couple was married for 18 years. 

Tinker unofficially retired from the television industry in the early 1990s.

According to Variety, Tinker died at his home in California. He's survived by his two sons, Mark and John, and his wife Brooke Knapp.