80 Years of The Hollywood Reporter
Between creating Saturday Night Live with Lorne Michaels and overseeing eight up-close-and-personal Olympics, Dick Ebersol -- who stepped down as head of NBC Sports on May 19 after contract negotiations broke down -- has had one of the great TV careers. Ebersol, 62, not only won a Peabody for coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics but in 1995 famously locked up deals for five consecutive Games in the space of one year. His run stretches back to 1967, when he temporarily dropped out of Yale at age 20 to work with ABC's Roone Arledge on the Mexico City Games. There were some flops: Hooking up with Vince McMahon to launch the XFL wasn't a perfect idea, and slamming Conan O'Brien as an "astounding failure" was a bit harsh. But bringing the NFL to the Peacock in 2006 on Sunday nights was a high point for the 6-foot-4 golden boy. THR noted when announcing his 1989 ascension to the presidency of NBC Sports that Ebersol had been "at 28, the first NBC vp under the age of 30" back in his early SNL days. Longtime friend Bob Costas believes one of the keys to the exec's success was his "no assholes" policy. "It didn't matter how talented they were, he would weed them out. He wanted a working environment in which people would be happy and flourish," Costas says. Throw in staying married for 30 years to the same woman, actress Susan Saint James, and Ebersol has earned the right to smoke one of his Montecristo cigars and take a break.