Daniel McDowell, associate professor of political science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has published an essay exploring the implications of Chinese bank expansion abroad in the 2022-23 Wilson China Fellowship Report “Understanding China Amid Change and…
Newhouse School Mourns the Loss of Pioneering Media Executive Edward Bleier ’51
Edward Bleier ’51, the innovative media executive who helped support the study of television and pop culture on the Syracuse University campus, died Tuesday, according to his wife, Magda Bleier. He was 94 years old.
Bleier was a pioneer in media, serving as president of Warner Bros. domestic pay-TV, cable and network features division during a decorated and distinguished career that saw him work in almost every aspect of radio and television.
Thanks to his generosity to his alma mater, Bleier enabled generations of Syracuse University students to follow in his footsteps through the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture, a think tank on the art of television and the exploration of popular culture housed in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Bleier requested in his memorial notices that gifts be sent to the Bleier Center in lieu of flowers.
“Edward Bleier was a titan of the communications industry, a visionary who helped build the foundation for so many of the platforms for consuming content that we take for granted today,” said Newhouse Dean Mark J. Lodato.
“On behalf of the Newhouse community, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Bleier family,” Lodato added. “We are so thankful for his tremendous generosity to Syracuse University, where his legacy will live on at the Bleier Center.”
Bleier was a key executive in implementing changes in the media landscape, principally at Time Warner/Warner Bros. and ABC-TV. At ABC in the 1960s, he at various times headed daytime and children’s programming; news, sports and prime-time sales; and marketing, public relations and long-range planning.
From 1969-2004, while at Warner Bros., Bleier was a key player in Warner Communications’ development of cable systems, cable networks, home video, sports and its 1990 merger with Time Inc.
In 2005, the Center for the Study of Popular Television was renamed the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture thanks to a generous donation from Bleier. The center is headed by Professor Bob Thompson, one of the most well-known and widely quoted popular culture experts in the world.
“Media, particularly popular media, are the new DNA of our global society. With Internet and satellite, ideas, images, stories and information affect every aspect of the world, often instantly,” Bleier said in 2005 in an announcement about the renaming of the center.
“The content of American media is so pervasive-for good or ill-it must be seriously taught and examined,” Bleier said. “Bob Thompson is at the forefront and I am honored to add my support.”
Thompson, who planned to speak at a memorial service for Bleier held on Sunday in East Hampton, New York, said Bleier “knew everyone in – and everything about – American television.”
“In over 30 years as my friend, he taught me volumes. I was always taken by how a guy who had been such a VIP for 70 years was also so humble and kind. And hilarious,” Thompson said. “Although he’d been retired for a while, he remained up-to-the-second on the monumental changes happening in the industry.”
Thompson recalled a conversation a few weeks ago, during which Bleier provided insights about streaming, artificial intelligence and the Hollywood writers and actors strikes “with wisdom and aplomb,” he said. “I am proud to see his name on my door every morning.”