NEW YORK, N.Y. – Michael King, an innovative TV syndicator who helped make stars of Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray, has died.
A family member confirmed King died Wednesday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia. He was 67.
With his brother Roger, Michael King inherited King World Productions in 1972 from their father, Charles King, who had founded the company eight years earlier to syndicate classic “Our Gang” theatrical comedy shorts.
Under the brothers’ management, King World rose to be the industry’s leading distributor of first-run syndicated programming, bringing such shows to TV as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Dr. Phil.”
“Anyone that knew Michael knows what a passion he brought to everything he touched. He and Roger certainly had a profound impact on my life personally and professionally,” McGraw said in a statement.
The King-syndicated “Wheel of Fortune” paired host Pat Sajak and letter turner Vanna White. It has remained a hit for decades, as has the syndicated “Jeopardy!” that King World re-introduced, having obtained the rights to both game shows.
King World also launched the long-running syndicated news magazine “Inside Edition.”
In 2000, King World was acquired by CBS.
Roger King died in 2007 at age 63.
Michael King is survived by his wife Jena, two sons and two daughters.