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October 19, 2009

Dick Colbert Passes at 85

Renowned syndication pioneer

Television industry pioneer Dick Colbert, who co-founded the independent syndication company Colbert Television Sales, died August 21, 2009, in Boulder Creek, California. He was 85.

An innovator in sales, marketing and production strategies, Colbert helped transform primetime and prime access timeslots during the mid-1970s. With first-run shows like The Joker’s Wild, hosted by Jack Barry, and Tic Tac Dough, with Wink Martindale, CTS became one of the leading independent syndicators. Its sales force in the 1970s included King World Productions founders Roger King and Michael King.

Born Richard Goldberg in San Francisco, Colbert started his career in 1942 after joining Universal Studios as a poster clerk. Following a brief tour with the U.S. Army during World War II he returned to Universal, where he was promoted to booker.

In the early 1960s, Colbert made his move to television joining ZIV International and later Four Star Television as president of distribution.

Colbert, along with partners Jack Barry and Dan Enright, formed CTS in the 1970s. The team continued their partnership throughout the 1980s until the sale of the Barry & Enright Productions library to Sony in the early 1990s.

Survivors include a son, Ritch Colbert, who heads the independent syndication distributor Program Partners.

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