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News producer Jeff Gralnick dies at 72
Jeff Gralnick, one of the legendary news producers, who lead the top-rated broadcasts of both "Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" and "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings," has died. He was 72.
NBC News president Steve Capus released this full statement, and it's hard to improve upon -- Capus describes Jeff's accomplishments in the world of television news, and they are truly considerable. But I might add that Jeff was also a generous teacher and gifted writer who reported for Walter Cronkite in Vietnam.
Here's Steve's statement:
I have terrible news to share with the NBC News family. We have lost Jeff Gralnick. He passed away at his home last night at the age of 72. It is cliché to label someone a pioneer in our profession . . . but in Jeff’s case, it was certainly true.
Jeff was a veteran of all three broadcast networks. During a remarkable 52-year career, he changed the way news was produced, reported and presented on many different platforms.
He was also a good friend and confidant to me personally. Given Jeff’s perspective, it is no wonder I frequently called upon him for his thoughts and advice on any number of issues this news division has faced through the years.
Jeff has been a special consultant to me focusing on ways to grow NBC News and MSNBC internationally. He has had great success doing just that from Africa to Europe to Asia and South America. He also was a steady hand for us on editorial matters, helping produce Brian Williams’ election night coverage.
Jeff began his broadcast news career in 1959 as a desk assistant for CBS News. Back then, the network news was a 15 minute broadcast called “Douglas Edwards with The News.” Jeff spent 11 years at CBS News. He was a reporter in Vietnam . . . produced special coverage of the space program and election coverage in 1964 and 1968. He was also one of the first producers for "60 Minutes," working with Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner.
He left our profession for a year to work as George McGovern’s press secretary. It was during this time that he first met a young reporter in California named Tom Brokaw. In 1972, he joined ABC News as a field producer.
He twice served as the executive producer of "World News Tonight." As vice president and executive producer of special events at ABC News, he produced coverage of every convention and election from 1980 to 1992 and countless special broadcasts and breaking news coverage. In 1993, he came over to NBC News as executive producer of 'NBC Nightly News.'
In the three years that he served in that role, Jeff and Tom Brokaw combined forces to lift the broadcast from 3rd place to 1st, where it remains today. He has continued to be a valued member of the Nightly News family, frequently working with Brian on major events and a variety of production elements.
In 1996, Roone Arledge brought Jeff back to ABC as a vice president and assistant to the chairman of news to help start ABCNews.com. A move to CNN took place in 1999, before Jeff began consulting work in 2001. His clients have included CNBC, Maryland Public Television and the University of Southern California. I could fill this note with his accomplishments, awards and professional biography.
But more important, Jeff was very much a family man . . . devoted to his loving wife, Beth and their children, Bob and Kate. In lieu of flowers, Beth asks people to consider donating to the American Cancer Society. There will be a visitation with the family Friday May 13th between 5 and 9 p.m. at Harding Funeral Home. 210 Post Rd. East in Westport, CT. This is a huge loss to our profession and to this news division. Our friend Jeff will be sorely missed. -- Steve Capus