He wasn't exactly a TV star. But without Roger King, the television landscape would probably look and sound a lot different.


Roger King died over the weekend. His company, King World Productions, help bring shows such as "Wheel of Fortune" to TV sets all over the country. Together with his brother, Michael, Roger King took TV syndication to a new level. That's selling the programs directly to stations without going through a network.

SIEGEL: The King brothers were masters of syndication. Their shows include "Jeopardy," "Inside Edition," "Dr. Phil" and "Rachael Ray." They rose to fame and tremendous fortune in the 1980s, using big marketing campaigns for older game shows and encouraging stations to run their programs in certain timeslots.

NORRIS: King World started off humbly in the 1960s, when Roger's father, Charles King, began distributing radio shows and reruns of "The Little Rascals." But it was Roger King's triumph in 1986 that secured King World's legacy. That's when he got reluctant station owners to buy a Chicago-based talk show hosted by an unknown former newscaster.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: After a line of coaxing, stations did get with the program and turned "The Oprah Winfrey Show" into, well, "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

NORRIS: Roger King suffered a stroke last week in his home in his home in Boca Raton, Florida. He died on Saturday. He was 63 years old.

SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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