Michael King Dead: The Oprah Winfrey Show Creator, King World CEO Dies at 66

Michael King
Actress-comedienne Roseanne laughs as King World CEO Michael King listens during a question-and-answer session about "The Roseanne Show," July 8, 1998 AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Michael King, the TV pioneer who launched talk shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Rachael Ray Show, and others has died. TMZ and Entertainment Tonight report that the TV mogul died Wednesday, May 27, at age 66.

According to TMZ, King was admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center's ICU three weeks ago for pneumonia, and was taken off life support following his illness.

Micheal King
King World Productions executives Roger King and Michael King attend the 32nd Annual National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Convention and Exhibition on January 24, 1995 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

King, who inherited his father's behemoth media conglomerate King World Productions along with his brother Roger and five other siblings, was a New Jersey native who owned a stake in the New York Yankees, New Jersey Nets, and New Jersey Devils sports teams.

In addition to teaming with Harpo Productions to bring The Oprah Winfrey Show to daytime in 1986, King acquired syndication rights to both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Other programming to the media magnate's name included The Merv Griffin Show, Geraldo, Hollywood Squares, Everybody Loves Raymond, America's Next Top Model, and three CSI iterations.

King World Productions was acquired by CBS in 2000 for $2.5 billion, at which time King largely retired from the industry.

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