Wednesday, November 30, 2016


In most years for the Television Crossover Hall of Fame, creative talent behind the scenes who qualified are inducted in September.  And unless they were a team who are better known together than apart (Hanna-Barbera, for example), I limit the entries to one a year.  The same as I do with other categories, like in February and August, to guarantee the themes can continue.  

But this year, September saw two producers inducted - Sheldon Leonard, who had been previously scheduled, and the late Garry Marshall, whose death a few weeks previously precipitated his inclusion now.  Both of them were definitely Hall-worthy, but Leonard was given preference because the overall theme this year has been the League of Themselves.  And Sheldon Leonard not only produced so many shows that crossed over with each other but he also appeared as himself in several shows.

So here we are, one month away from the end of this Grim Reaper of a year, and Toobworld Central finds itself faced with the death of another producer who was the power behind the throne of many a crossover in Toobworld.....

I don't think anybody could say it better than Ken Levine, the writer-producer of shows like 'Becker', 'Cheers', 'Frasier', and 'M*A*S*H':

Television has not just lost a giant, it lost its Babe Ruth. Grant Tinker has died at the age of 90. The man who presided over MTM Enterprises in its heyday and then turned NBC into the number one network was 90. No one in the history of television has done more to lift the quality and advance the medium than Grant Tinker. And that’s not even what made him great.

As for those accomplishments: At MTM he was responsible for THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, RHODA, PHYLLIS, HILL STREET BLUES, ST. ELSEWHERE. Taking over NBC, which was mired in last place, he brought the world CHEERS, COSBY, TAXI, FAMILY TIES, GOLDEN GIRLS, MIAMI VICE, HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN, and dozens of other hit shows. Come Emmy time NBC would usually sweep. Compare that to today when broadcast networks are almost shut out at Emmy time.

His famous dictum was: “First be best, then be first.”

And he practiced it. He brought class, sophistication, and humanity to everything he touched. 

Grant Tinker's stewardship over the shows produced at MTM Enterprises led to crossovers, sequels, and spin-offs, including the show that was perhaps the greatest hub of crossovers ever - 'St. Elsewhere'.  Sometimes a few of those "after-thoughts" went on to even greater glory than the show that spawned it.  And some of those characters even went on to appear in shows that weren't part of the MTM aegis.

And it was all due to Grant Tinker willing to take the fights to the top in support of the talent working for him.

I could have waited to induct Mr. Tinker until next year.  Already the 2017 class for the Hall is shaping up to be a memorial tribute season.  But as Mr. Levine said, Grant Tinker was Babe Ruth.

In those BC years - Before Computers - I kept scrapbooks about MTM.  It started out as a tribute to one of my Top 5 TV shows, my guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything.  But it soon spread to include anything to do with all of the shows from MTM, not just those mentioned by Mr. Levine above, but also 'Doc', 'The Tony Randall Show', 'WKRP In Cincinnatti', 'Remington Steele', 'White Shadow', and 'Lou Grant'.  And as I added to the collection, I knew who was the reason for so many of the series I was enjoying - Grant Tinker.

So as thanks for the enjoyment he gave me - and I realize it's poor remuneration - Grant Tinker is being inducted right away into the TVXOHOF.

Thank you, Sir.

No comments: