Brandon Tartikoff, who led NBC to five consecutive winning seasons in the prime-time ratings, has been seriously hurt in a car crash that also injured his daughter, a network spokeswoman said yesterday.
Tartikoff, 41, chairman of the NBC Entertainment Group, and his daughter, Calla, 8, were injured late Tuesday near Lake Tahoe, Nev. They were rushed to Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nev., where both were placed in intensive care.
Yesterday afternoon, Tartikoff's condition was upgraded from serious to satisfactory and he was moved to the orthopedic recovery unit, says NBC spokeswoman Susan Binford. He has multiple fractures and lacerations. Calla remains in serious condition in the pediatric intensive-care unit.
NBC boss Bob Wright flew to Tartikoff's side yesterday, according to Binford. Tartikoff "is an incredible fighter," says Binford. "We all know that. Our prayers go out to the whole family. He is part of the family."
During Tartikoff's recovery, "we're not going to miss a beat," Binford says. "We're certainly going to miss him, but we have a lot of very capable hands on deck." NBC Entertainment chief Warren Littlefield, a Tartikoff protege, is expected to take over some of his duties.
Tartikoff, a Yale grad, became NBC's chief programmer at the tender age of 31 when he was named president of NBC Entertainment. In July, he was promoted to chairman of the NBC Entertainment Group, a newly created post. He joined NBC in 1977 as director of comedy programs.
Tartikoff and his family live in Beverly Hills and were on vacation when the accident occurred. His wife, Lilly, was not in the car, Binford says.