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Michael Dann

  • Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
  • Birthday: September 11
Date of passing: 
May 27, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

Michael Dann was a television executive best known for his tenure as head programmer for CBS in the 1950s and 1960s. During that time, he was responsible for numerous successful series, including 60 Minutes, The Defenders, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett ShowThe Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Green AcresThe Beverly HillbilliesThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and Hee Haw.

Born in Detroit, Dann enlisted in the Army in 1941, shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan. Unable to serve in combat due to a limp he acquired from a childhood case of polio, he wrote for the armed services publication Stars and Stripes during World War II.

He got his start in television with a job in the publicity department at NBC and remained with the network for nearly a decade, during which he supervised specials and later became head of programming. In 1957 he became president of the production company Henry Jaffe Enterprises for a brief time before being hired by CBS.

Michael Dann was a television executive best known for his tenure as head programmer for CBS in the 1950s and 1960s. During that time, he was responsible for numerous successful series, including 60 Minutes, The Defenders, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Carol Burnett ShowThe Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Green AcresThe Beverly HillbilliesThe Mary Tyler Moore Show and Hee Haw.

Born in Detroit, Dann enlisted in the Army in 1941, shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan. Unable to serve in combat due to a limp he acquired from a childhood case of polio, he wrote for the armed services publication Stars and Stripes during World War II.

He got his start in television with a job in the publicity department at NBC and remained with the network for nearly a decade, during which he supervised specials and later became head of programming. In 1957 he became president of the production company Henry Jaffe Enterprises for a brief time before being hired by CBS.

In addition to numerous hit comedies and dramas, Dann's CBS programming slate included a number of cultural specials, including performances by piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz and Ages of Man, a production starring actor John Gielgud.

Although the majority of his programs were mainstream, Dann shepherded one of the most controversial programs of the 1960s, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Starring musician-comedians Tom and Dick Smothers, the show ran afoul of network standards and practices for its anti-Vietnam War content and ultimately was canceled. The decision upset Dann, who regarded the cancellation as a blow to freedom of expression.

Prior to leaving CBS he acquired All in the Family, which became not only a hit for the network but one of the iconic TV comedies of all time.

Dann died May 27, 2016, in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 94.

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