Roger M. King, TV Syndicator, dead at 63

Roger M. King, a television syndication executive who helped make national stars of talents like Oprah Winfrey, Alex Trebek and Dr. Phil McGraw, died on Saturday. He was 63.</P> <P>King suffered a stroke on Friday at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., and died the next day at a nearby hospital, said Chris Ender, a spokesman for CBS, where Mr. King last worked.</P> <P>Roger King joined CBS in 2000 after King World Productions, the family company he and his brother, Michael, sold to CBS for $2.5 billion.</P> <P>King took advantage of the limits the three major television networks had of ownership and control over programming. The regulations created a new lucrative market for programming that was independently produced and syndicated.</P> <P>King had an eye for spotting talent, he also courted local markets and nurtured his shows popularity.</P> <P>King World programs were revived versions of earlier game shows. One of them, “Wheel of Fortune,” hosted by Pat Sajak has been the top syndicated show on television for the last 25 years, CBS said. “Jeopardy,” hosted by Mr. Trebek, has ranked among the top three syndicated shows for 23 years.</P> <P>It was King’s magic that made Oprah what she is today.  Winfrey’s talk show in Chicago was morphed into a top-rated daytime talk show and a national hit. </P> <P>In a press statement yesterday, Winfrey called King “a larger-than-life partner who helped me launch two decades of success in syndication. I will never forget what he did for me.”</P> <P>King was the chief executive of CBS Television Distribution at the time of his death. In recent years, he had worked closely on several syndicated shows like “Dr. Phil,” which was introduced in 2002 and is now the No. 2 daytime talk show behind Ms. Winfrey’s show, and “Rachael Ray,” a home and family talk show that has gained high ratings since it started last year.</P>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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