Home #Hwoodtimes Edwin T. Vane, Former NBC, ABC and Group W Executive, Dies at...

Edwin T. Vane, Former NBC, ABC and Group W Executive, Dies at 93

Edwin T. Vane (Photo: Andy Lipschultz)

He had a hand in launching such shows as ‘Jeopardy!,’ ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ and ‘Good Morning America’ during his career.

Edwin T. Vane, a longtime television executive at NBC, ABC and Group W Productions, died June 26 in Los Angeles of natural causes, his family announced. He was 93.

In 1965, Vane became vice president of daytime programming at ABC where under his leadership the network introduced such programs as The Dating GameThe Newlywed GameLet’s Make a DealOne Life to Live and Good Morning America and developed a Saturday morning cartoon featuring The Beatles.

Then, as ABC’s vice president of primetime programming, he helped create The American Music Awards and supervised hit series including Happy DaysMarcus Welby, M.D. and Soap and such critically acclaimed projects as the 1974 telefilm The Missiles of October and the 1976 miniseries Eleanor and Franklin.

In 1979, Vane was hired as president and CEO of Group W Productions, which produced and distributed such syndicated series as The Mike Douglas ShowHour Magazine and PM Magazine. He retired in 1987.

A native of New York and graduate of Fordham University, Edwin Thomas Vane began his career as a page at NBC in 1945 before moving into advertising and promotions and then, in 1961, daytime television.

Pitched a game show by Merv Griffin, Vane “liked the premise but [said] it lacked enough ‘jeopardies’ — situations where the contestants were at risk of failing,” Griffin wrote in his 2003 book, Merv: Making the Good Life Last.

“Not only was he right — I decided to deduct money for a wrong answer; that had never been done before — but he’d also inadvertently given me a perfect name for the show.” Jeopardy! debuted in March 1964.

A member of the board of governors of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Vane also co-wrote a college textbook on TV programming that was published in 1994.

Survivors include his four sons — Richard, a producer (ArachnophobiaSnow Falling on Cedars), Christopher, a writer and producer (WingsSuddenly Susan), Timothy and Paul — six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife of 48 years, Claire, died in 1998.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.