Snyder, Tom 1936–2007

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Snyder, Tom 1936–2007


See index for CA sketch: Born May 12, 1936, in Milwaukee, WI; died of complications from leukemia, July 29, 2007, in San Francisco, CA. Broadcast journalist. Snyder was a pioneer of late-late-night light news. It was his job to keep viewers' eyes glued to the television set long after the entertainment- and talk-show hosts had signed off for the night. The late-late-night format afforded him more latitude in subject matter and interviewing technique than more-conventional newscasts that were broadcast earlier in the day, and Snyder took full advantage of it. He recognized that viewers would not postpone their bedtime unless he could capture and hold their interest. After a modest start at television stations around the country, Snyder made his mark as the host of The Tomorrow Show, which followed Johnny Carson's popular talk show on NBC-TV for nearly ten years, from 1973 to 1982. Snyder was willing to talk about almost anything with anyone. His topics ranged from social issues such as open marriage, suicide, and prostitution, to politics, law, and the entertainment world. He interviewed a wide range of guests as well, from the Dalai Lama to convicted killer Charles Manson to labor leader Jimmy Hoffa and disgraced former vice president Spiro Agnew. Snyder's style was hard-hitting and sometimes antagonistic; it generated almost as much criticism as praise, but it kept his audience awake. After the demise of The Tomorrow Show, Snyder moved from Los Angeles to New York City to anchor Eyewitness News for ABC-TV, but the transition was not successful. Deprived of the freedom of a late-night time slot, the show's ratings fell as critics and viewers began to see a blander version of the television personality profile that had made him famous. He moved from one program and network to another and enjoyed a modest success with The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder on CBS-TV from 1995 to 1999.



Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2007, pp. 1, 6.

Los Angeles Times, July 31, 2007, p. B8.

New York Times, July 31, 2007, p. A21.