Julian Goodman, Former NBC Network President
Goodman began as a journalist and went on to become an influential executive for many years.
Julian Goodman, a longtime broadcast journalist and president of NBC during the Nixon administration, died July 2, 2012, at his home in Juno Beach, Florida. He was 90.
According to news reports, the cause was kidney failure.
Goodman, who reportedly had exchanged sharp words with members of the Nixon administration, was noteworthy for being targeted as one of the administration’s 20 “opponents.”
Both Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan took issue with Goodman’s handling of the Vietnam War, which did not present the president in a favorable light.
Goodman is reported to have responded to Agnew, “Evidently he would prefer a different kind of television reporting—one that would be subservient to whatever group was in authorityatthetime.”
Goodman also garnered attention for signing Johnny Carson to a multimillion-dollar contract to remain host of The Tonight Show, which made Carson the highest paid person on television at the time.
One of the most notorious incidents of his tenure as network president occurred in 1968, when his programming team cut away from a football game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets in order to air the film Heidi, which was scheduled to air at 7:00 p.m. EST.
At the time of the interruption, the Jets were leading the Raiders, 32-29, with less than a minute to play. Thus, millions of viewers in the eastern United States did not see the Raiders rally to score two touchdowns and defeat the Jets, 43-32.
Born in Glasgow, Kentucky, on May 1, 1922, Goodman attended Western Kentucky University and served in the Army during World War II.
Goodman got his start in journalism at his hometown newspaper, the Glasgow Daily Times. In 1945, he became a news writer at radio station WRC and three years later he graduated from George Washington University with a degree in economics.
Survivors include his wife, four children and six grandchildren.