The Advertising Century

William Paley

Published on .

William Paley
(1901-1990)
CBS, New York

Although Paley's CBS trailed David Sarnoff's NBC Radio Network in entertainment programming, once TV arrived in post-war America, Paley was ready. He hired agency executives to set up a CBS programming department that would take away program development responsibilities from ad agencies. Paley then converted 36 popular CBS Radio shows to TV and gave Lucille Ball her "I Love Lucy" series. Agencies eventually went along with the new dynamic. Paley signed Ball, Jackie Gleason, Jack Benny, Ed Sullivan and Mary Tyler Moore; supported CBS News' Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, William Shirer and Howard K. Smith; and saw CBS-TV acquire its "Tiffany network" luster that came to symbolize TV's golden age.