Leonard Goldberg, Producer of Hit TV Shows, Is Dead at 85

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He added, “We’re on episode 213, and anybody who talks about our show says their favorite part is the family dinner.”

Mr. Goldberg was born on Jan. 24, 1934, in Brooklyn. His father, William, made women’s coats and suits, and his mother, Jean (Smith) Goldberg, was a homemaker who also raised money for the B’nai B’rith and other charitable organizations.

After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Mr. Goldberg spent six months in the executive training program at Bloomingdale’s. He disliked it and left after six months, finding a job at ABC in its research department. He then moved briefly to NBC before joining the advertising agency Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn.

In the early 1960s he returned to ABC, where he rose to vice president of daytime programming, introducing “The Dating Game” and “The Newlywed Game” to the lineup.

As he told it, Mr. Goldberg prodded Chuck Barris, then ABC’s director of West Coast daytime programming, to create “The Dating Game,” in which a bachelor or bachelorette would choose a date from among three unseen members of the opposite sex after asking them questions.

According to an interview with the Television Academy Foundation in 2004, he provided Mr. Barris with the germ of what became “The Dating Game”:

“What do young women like? We’re guys, we like girls. They must like guys.”

In 1966, Mr. Goldberg became ABC’s vice president of programming. Over three years in that position, he helped develop the made-for-TV movie format out of his boredom with conventional series, and introduced prime-time shows like “Love, American Style,” “The Flying Nun” and “The Mod Squad,” which Mr. Spelling produced with Danny Thomas.


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