Former CBS News President David W. Burke has died at the age of 78, TVNewser has learned.
Burke served as CBS News chief from 1988-1990, overseeing the network’s coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the First Gulf War. He also suspended the late “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney for comments that offended homosexuals.
Before CBS, Burke served as executive vice president at ABC News, where he helped lift the network to first place in the ratings while also building Peter Jennings into a major figure. At ABC, Burke oversaw the creation of “Nightline” with Ted Koppel and “20/20″ with Barbara Walters. Following his two tumultuous years at CBS News, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Burke, was “an outsider in the most inside of institutions.”
Burke worked in politics before his time as a broadcast executive, as an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy and New York Governor Hugh Carey. Later in life, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as the first chairman of Broadcasting Board of Governors, which today hands out an award in Burke’s name.