LOS ANGELES - Roger M. King, 63, the CBS and King World Productions executive who helped bring stars including Oprah Winfrey, Alex Trebek and "Dr. Phil" McGraw to television, died yesterday of a stroke, a CBS spokesman said.
Mr. King was stricken at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., on Friday and died the next day at a hospital, CBS spokesman Chris Ender told the Associated Press.
At the time of his death, Mr. King was chief executive officer of CBS Television Distribution. He joined the network in 2000 when his groundbreaking company, King World Productions, merged with CBS.
"Television has lost a legend, a truly original executive with an unparalleled combination of business acumen, passion and personality. CBS has lost a colleague and a good friend," CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement. "It's a very sad day for CBS and for all of broadcasting."
Under Mr. King's guidance, King World became the industry's leading distributor of first-run, syndicated programming, bringing such shows to television as
The Oprah Winfrey Show
. He also launched the long-running syndicated news magazine
He transformed "his family business, King World, into a production and syndication empire with unmatched impact and influence in the broadcasting business over the past 30 years," CBS said in a statement.
Wheel of Fortune
introduced the public to Pat Sajak and letter turner Vanna White. CBS said it has been television's No. 1 syndicated show for 23 years. The King-syndicated version of
, with Trebek as host, has ranked among television's top three syndicated shows for 22 years.
Mr. King was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 1992 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004.