Emmy winner helped start FNC

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NEW YORK -- Chet Collier, the former "Mike Douglas Show" producer who later led Westinghouse Broadcasting and had a hand in forming the Fox News Channel, died Wednesday at his home in Florida after a long illness. He was 80.

Collier's death was announced Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Studio B With Shepard Smith." Smith spoke admiringly of Collier and read an e-mail from FNC chief executive Roger Ailes who said in part, "Chet Collier never took any credit for himself, but we couldn't have accomplished everything we did without him."

When Collier worked with Ailes to start the Fox News Channel in the mid-1990s, he already was an accomplished producer and executive. Born in 1927, he graduated in 1950 from Emerson College in Boston. He started his career as a production assistant at Channel 4 in Boston. He was a producer on "Mike Douglas," where he hired a 22-year-old Ailes. He also oversaw the creation of shows starring Regis Philbin, Steve Allen, David Frost and Merv Griffin.

As an executive, he was president of Group W Westinghouse and an executive at the former America's Talking network and CNBC. He later became executive vp of Fox News Channel. In a televised obituary after the announcement of Collier's death, Ailes said that Collier was the one who always kept him on track.

"He was a terrific leader. This newsroom will always remember him," Smith said.

In addition to winning seven Emmys and a George Foster Peabody Award -- including an Emmy for "Mike Douglas," a first for a syndicated show -- he was a former president and show chairman of the Westminster Kennel Club. He helped turned the annual WKC's dog show into an event that regularly sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York and drew millions of viewers on live television.
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