Saturday, December 4, 2010

TV Producer Alfred Masini Passes On

Television producer Alfred Masini, who created and produced such first run syndication series as Solid Gold, Entertainment Tonight, and Star Search, passed on November 29, 2010 at the age of 80. The cause was complications from melanoma.

Alfred Masini was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on January 5, 1930. He graduated from Fordham University in New York City with a bachelor's degree in 1952. He served during the Korean War in the United States Air Force. In 1954 he went to work for the CBS-TV library as a film editor. Two years later he went into advertising.

It was in 1968 that he and Rich Frank, later of Disney, TeleRep, a firm which sold advertisements for television stations. It proved very successful. It was in 1976 that Alfred Masini created Operation Prime Time, a syndicated programming block sold primarily to independent stations in the United States. In its early days it produced mini-series and two part movies such as Testimony of Two Men (1977), The Bastard (1978), The Rebels (1979), Goliath Awaits (1981), and  A Woman Called Golda (1982), among others.

It was in 1979 that Alfred Masini conceived of the first regularly scheduled television series under the "Operation Prime Time" heading. Solid Gold was essentially a throwback to Your Hit Parade of radio and the early days of television, counting down the latest hit songs. It debuted in January 1980 and ran until 1988. Alfred Masini followed this success up with what may have been his most successful show of all time. Entertainment Tonight was a throwback to old Hollywood fan magazines and current magazines on the stands such as People. It debuted in 1981 and is still running to this day. It is not only the longest running entertainment news show, but the most watched as well. In 1983 he created Star Search, a talent competition which was a throw back to The Original Amateur Hour of radio and early television. It ran until 1995.

Mr. Masini retired in 1994 and moved to Hawaii.

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