LOS ANGELES — Fred Silverman, who produced such hits as “Welcome Back Kotter” and “The Cosby Show” on his way to becoming one of television’s most influential creative executives, has died. He was 82.
Silverman died Wednesday at his New York home, a family spokeswoman, Christi Paul, said Friday. No other details were available.
Silverman had a “fearless, fearless” approach to creating and nurturing television, said Dick Wolf, creator of “Law & Order” and other series for NBC and “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.”
“He had the ability to see the bigger picture,” Wolf said. “He was not just a very, very good showrunner, he was one of the great showrunners of our time.”
Silverman got his start at NBC in 1969, supervising the launch of “All in the Family,” which soon became television’s No. 1 show, former colleague Beverly Sills said.
He was executive producer of that series and another hit, “The Jeffersons,” while also developing a number of other hits, including “Taxi,” ”Family Ties” and “The Cosby Show.”
Silverman left NBC in 1985 to run ABC Entertainment, a job he held until 1988. Later he created features “Cybill” and “After MASH,” to which he returned in 2002, working as an executive producer.
He returned to NBC in 1997 to head entertainment of the network’s cable-oriented basic cable services, where he launched such shows as “Family Ties” spinoff “Suddenly Susan,” ”Politically Incorrect” and “The Contender.”
“Fred Silverman was, by far, one of the greatest executives I have ever had the fortune to work with,” Jeff Zucker, now president of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement. “His legacy was boundless and indelible.”
Born Aug. 14, 1932, in Santa Monica, Silverman’s career was launched by a job at CBS, where he was a senior producer on the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “42nd Street.”
Silverman is survived by his wife, Rebecca, and a brother.