Monday, June 22, 2009

TV innovator George Resing dies

Former KPIX general manager George Resing -- who helped create "The Phil Donahue Show," "Good Morning America" and "Evening Magazine" -- died of a brain tumor June 6 at his Novato home. He was 80.

Resing began his broadcasting career in the early 1950s as a stage hand for WLWD-TV (now WDTN) in Dayton, Ohio, where he worked his way up to management. His hunch on Donahue, a radio host in Dayton in the late 1960s, eventually turned into a nationally syndicated program that set a trend in afternoon talk television.

Managing ABC's WLS in Chicago, Resing later helped usher in morning competition to the "Today" show, developing a local show that would become "Good Morning America."

Arriving at KPIX in the mid 1970s, Resing was responsible for hiring Dave McElhatton away from KCBS radio and put him behind the anchor desk. He also hired Jan Yanehiro on his groundbreaking "Evening Magazine" that launched in prime access in August 1976. It became a hit and Westinghouse/Group W licensed the format under the title "PM Magazine" to more than 400 stations. The format is still alive in many markets, and many say it led to reality television.

"It was an exciting time in television," said Resing's daughter Crista told the Chron. "Local stations had a lot of money and did a lot of local programming."

Here are links to obits in the Marin IJ and the Chron.

(Photo credit: Courtesy of Resing family via Chronicle)

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