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Friendly, Fred W.


FRIENDLY, FRED W. (Fred Wachenheimer ; 1915–1998), U.S. television writer and director. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Friendly began his career as a radio announcer in 1937. During World War ii he was a correspondent for army publications, and in 1948 joined the National Broadcasting Company. He collaborated with veteran journalist Edward R. Murrow in the Hear It Now radio series. These were followed by several years of producing cbs Reports (1959–64) for the Columbia Broadcasting System. Friendly was president of cbs News from 1964 to 1966. He produced the innovative investigative tv news series See It Now, hosted by Murrow; it was the first tv program to be broadcast coast to coast across America (1951–57). He also produced the tv series Back That Fact (1953); the documentary film Satchmo the Great about legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1958); and the cbs News documentary Harvest of Shame (1960), which dealt with the plight of migrant farmworkers in America.

In 1966 Friendly resigned from cbs when his decision to carry the live U.S. Senate hearings on Vietnam was overruled and the network chose to air reruns of I Love Lucy instead. Friendly then became a television adviser to the Ford Foundation, where he developed the Public Broadcast Laboratory, and was a professor of journalism at Columbia University.

Recognizing that animosity was growing between journalists and the judiciary in America, in 1974 Friendly collaborated with some of the country's leading lawyers, journalists, and politicians to create a series of debates centered on society and the media. Now known as the Fred Friendly Seminars, broadcasts of these programs became highly popular fare on the Public Broadcasting Service.

Among his many honors and accolades, Friendly garnered 35 major awards for See It Now; 40 major awards for cbs Reports; and 10 Peabody Awards for tv production. In 1994 he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.

Books written by Friendly include "I Can Hear It Now" 1933–45 (with E.R. Murrow, 1948); Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control (1967); The Good Guys, the Bad Guys, and the First Amendment: Free Speech vs. Fairness in Broadcasting (1976); Minnesota Rag: The Dramatic Story of the Landmark Supreme Court Case That Gave New Meaning to Freedom of the Press (1981); and The Constitution: That Delicate Balance (1984).

add. bibliography:

A. Sperber, Murrow: His Life and Times (1986); L. Paper, Empire: William S. Paley and the Making of cbs (1987); D. Schoenbrun, On and Off the Air: An Informal History of cbs News (1989).

[Barth Healey /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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