Individual 2004

Personal Award: Grant Tinker

“My own attitude is that my job was simply to get my hands on the best creative people, help them in any way that they required, but not to try to legislate what they did or how they did it; just simply to get them into the tent and let them do their thing.”—Grant Tinker, 1983. From radio to advertising to television networks, from studio head to network CEO, Grant Tinker has often been at the center of electronic media. As CEO of MTM Enterprises in the 1970s and CEO of NBC in the 1980s, he provided creative opportunities that led to some of television’s most exciting work—and workers. The writers and producers who honed their craft at MTM have gone on to create some of the greatest programs in television history. James Brooks, Allan Burns, Gary David Goldberg, Steven Bochco, Bruce Paltrow, Mark Tinker, Hugh Wilson, Joshua Brand, John Falsey—these and others cite Grant Tinker’s philosophy of creativity as a source of their own, and in turn, have afforded others the same creative freedom provided by Grant Tinker. That philosophy extended to shepherding the network schedule during his tenure as Chair and CEO of NBC. There, with Brandon Tartikoff, he made a last-place network the home of programs such as Cosby, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues, the lineup often cited as “the best night of television on television.” Grant Tinker has taken seriously the creative possibilities of entertainment on television. His place in the history of the medium is secure for his work stands as a touchstone by which others may measure true success. A Peabody Award goes to Grant Tinker for recognizing, protecting, and fostering creativity of the highest order.