Robert J. Wussler dies at 73; former head of CBS helped create CNN


Robert J. Wussler, a CNN co-founder and a longtime CBS executive, has died after a long illness. He was 73.

Wussler died June 5 at his home in Westport, Conn., spokesman Arthur Sando said.

Robert Joseph Wussler was born Sept. 8, 1936, in Newark, N.J., and graduated in 1957 from Seton Hall University with a bachelor’s in communication arts. He started his 21-year career at CBS working in the mailroom and rose to become head of the sports division and then president of the network.


In 1980, Ted Turner recruited Wussler to join TBS and help develop CNN.

Robert J. Wussler: The obituary in Monday’s LATExtra section of television executive Robert J. Wussler mistakenly said he was a co-founder of CNN. Wussler was senior executive vice president at Turner Broadcasting System, beginning in 1980 when CNN was formed. —

“Bob Wussler was instrumental in helping Ted Turner build Turner Broadcasting and CNN,” Tom Johnson, a former CNN president, told

Wussler also helped Turner with the Goodwill Games, an event created in response to Olympic boycotts in 1980 and ’84.

In his 2008 book “Call Me Ted,” Turner said Wussler immediately grasped the potential of the Goodwill Games in matching athletes from the Soviet Union and the United States outside the Olympics. “We were off and running on another new and massive undertaking,” Turner wrote.

Before joining Turner, Wussler formed his own production company, Pyramid Enterprises, in 1978. It created international syndicated programming, specializing in Japan, France and the what was then the Soviet Union.

From 1989 to 1992, Wussler was president and chief executive of Comsat Video Enterprises and managing general partner of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

Survivors include his six children.