Leonard H. Goldenson
Leonard H. Goldenson was President of the U.S. television and radio broadcaster ABC.
Goldenson was born in Pennsylvania in 1905 and grew up in the town of Scottdale, Pennsylvania and graduated from Scottdale High School. He is arguably the most influential person from Scottdale. He was educated at Harvard, and entered the entertainment industry in 1933 as an attorney for Paramount Pictures after graduating from Harvard Business School. Goldenson was hired to help reorganize United Paramount Theatres, Paramount’s theater chain, which at the time was nearing bankruptcy. So skillful was his work at this assignment that Paramount’s chief executive officer, Barney Balaban, hired Goldenson to manage the entire chain.
Goldenson orchestrated the merger of United Paramount Theatres with ABC in 1953. ABC was originally formed in 1943 in the wake of an earlier Supreme Court decree effectively ordering the spinoff of the largely secondary-status Blue Network from its then-parent, NBC; its buyer, industrialist Edward J. Noble, tried valiantly to build ABC into an innovative and competitive broadcaster, but by 1951 was rumored to be on the verge of selling the nearly bankrupt operation to CBS, who apparently wanted ABC’s critically important owned-and-operated television stations.
Goldenson rescued ABC with a $25 million cash infusion, becoming the founding chairman of the merged company which was named American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres. The modern ABC dates its history from the effective date of the Goldenson transaction, and not the Blue Network spinoff.