The loss of Grant Tinker this week feels very personal to me – even though I never even met the man, and not because so many of the shows he was responsible for in the Seventies and Eighties, either as President of MTM Enterprises or Chairman and CEO of NBC, meant so much to me. How could they not? Without Tinker we may very likely never have enjoyed The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou Grant, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, The Golden Girls or Cheers, among many others. Those shows weren’t just popular hits of their time – they were masterful for their day, many remaining so to this day – and most of them, during their first runs, advanced television in a way that few comedy or drama series have since, at least on broadcast television. (That's the famous group hug from the last scene of the MTM series finale above. It seems very appropriate here.)
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