Newswire: R.I.P. Michael King, TV executive who helped launch Oprah’s career

Michael King, whose tenure as an executive at King World Productions saw the rise of many of America’s most popular and profitable syndicated programs, has died at the age of 66.

Along with his brothers and sisters, King inherited King World from his father in 1973, and spent the next few decades transforming the distribution company into one of the top names in TV syndication. In the early ’80s, King World landed a major coup by acquiring the rights to two of Merv Griffin’s old game showsWheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy!and transforming them into two of the top syndicated programs on American TV.

Then, in 1986, Kingworking with his older brother, Rogerpartnered with the host of a popular Chicago-area talk show in order to bring her program to a national audience. The result was The Oprah Winfrey Show, whose distribution deal with King World …

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