Michael King, the television executive who helped launch "The Oprah Winfrey Show," and other series, has died. King died Wednesday in Los Angeles due to complications from pneumonia, a family member told the Associated Press.
King was in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for the last three weeks. He was taken off life support after a doctor's decision. King is survived by his wife Jena and four children -- two sons and two daughters.
King's father Charles King started the company King World Productions in 1972. King, along with his brother Roger King, inherited the company in 1972 and made it a highly successful venture in the entertainment industry. Their company produced shows such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" through a distribution deal that lasted two decades. King World then developed talk-show spinoffs, including “Dr. Phil” by Dr. Phil McGraw and “Rachel Ray.”
"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 released by the AP. The King brothers also secured the rights to popular game shows such as “Wheel of Fortune,” where host Pat Sajak and letter turner Vanna White became a hit for decades.
Their company also launched the news magazine "Inside Edition," which ran for a long time on television. Another popular game show, “Jeopardy,” was launched on television by the King Brothers, before King World was acquired by CBS in 2000 for a reported U.S. $2.5 billion. Following the CBS buyout, the King brothers started reporting to CBS boss Les Moonves.
King was also the founder and CEO of King Sports Worldwide, with a focus on boxing. He was also a part of money-lending group that invested in the New York Yankees, New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. His brother Roger King died in 2007 at age 63.