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Tinker Gets His Emmy But He's Not Done Yet

September 21, 1987|DEBORAH CAULFIELD

"After almost 40 years of working in the business, it's a wonderful culmination, it means that I choose wisely the people I work with," Grant Tinker said backstage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium Sunday night, after receiving the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' prestigious Governors Award.

Earlier, during the Emmy ceremonies, NBC's former chairman of the board told the audience to stop its standing ovation after a glowing introduction from actress Betty White. She described the 61-year-old TV producer as the man who founded MTM Enterprises, pioneering such shows as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "WKRP in Cincinnati," "The White Shadow," "Hill Street Blues" and "St. Elsewhere."

Tinker, who engineered NBC's phoenix-like rise to its current position as the top-rated national network, said he found his credits "so yesterday that it all seems kind of final, maybe the end of the book. I had a vague impression that I should have arranged to accept this posthumously--but I couldn't manage that."

Tinker, a one-time advertising executive whose 17-year marriage to Mary Tyler Moore ended in divorce in 1981, said he felt "guilty getting an award for what we all do," adding, "I've never had a job that wasn't at least as much fun as it was work."

Backstage, Tinker described his stint at NBC as "the best job I've ever done."

"Sometimes we never do our job as well as we'd like to," he said, "but we do it better more of the time than we get credit for."

He added that new programs--such as Dolly Parton's variety hour--indicate that the TV industry "is opening up a little," and getting more creative.

Tinker, who formed GTG Productions after resigning from NBC in 1986, promised to "keep on trying. The Governors Award is not the end of the book.

"It may be the last chapter," he acknowledged, "but it's going to be a hell of a long chapter."

The academy gives the Governors Award for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in television. Previous winners have included entertainers Bob Hope and Johnny Carson and news anchor Walter Cronkite.

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