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Pat Weaver

Pat Weaver with his daughter Sigourney Weaver
Born Sylvester Laflin Weaver, Jr.
December 21, 1908(1908-12-21)
Los Angeles, California
Died March 15, 2002 (aged 93)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.[1]
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Inglis (m. 1942–2002) «start: (1942)–end+1: (2003)»"Marriage: Elizabeth Inglis to Sylvester "Pat" Weaver" Location: (linkback:
Children Trajan Weaver
Sigourney Weaver (b.1949)

Sylvester Laflin "Pat" Weaver, Jr. (December 21, 1908 – March 15, 2002) was an American radio advertising executive, who became president of NBC between 1953 and 1955. He has been credited with reshaping broadcasting's format and philosophy as radio gave way to television as America's dominant home entertainment. His daughter is actress Sigourney Weaver.


Personal life

Weaver was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Sylvester Laflin Weaver, Sr. (1876-1958) and Elenor Isabel Dixon.[2] He was of Scottish (possibly Clan MacFarlane),[3] as well as of Ulster Irish and early New England ancestry.[4] He was related to Matthew Laflin who was an American manufacturer of gunpowder, Businessman, Philanthropist, and an early pioneer of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.[5][6][7] He was the brother of comedian Doodles Weaver. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1930, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. He also served in the United States Navy from 1942 through 1945.

He married Elizabeth Inglis, and the couple had two children; Sigourney (born Susan Alexandra) and Trajan.


Weaver worked for the Young & Rubicam advertising agency during the golden age of radio. In the mid-1930s he produced Fred Allen's Town Hall Tonight radio show, and he then supervised all the agency's radio programming. NBC hired him in 1949 to challenge the CBS network's programming lead.[1]

At NBC, Weaver established many operating practices that became standard for network television. He introduced the practice of networks producing their own television programming, then selling advertising time during the broadcasts. Prior to that, ad agencies usually created each show for a particular client. Because commercial announcements could now more easily be sold to more than one company sponsor for each program, a single advertiser pulling out would not necessarily threaten a program.

Weaver created Today in 1952, followed by Tonight (1954) with Steve Allen, Home (1954) with Arlene Francis and Wide Wide World (1955), hosted by Dave Garroway.[1]

He believed so deeply that broadcasting should educate as well as entertain that he typically required NBC shows to include at least one sophisticated cultural reference or performance per installment—including a segment of a Verdi opera adapted to the comic style of Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca's groundbreaking Your Show of Shows.

Weaver didn't ignore NBC Radio, either. In 1955, as network radio was dying, Weaver gave it one of the greatest adrenaline kicks in its history with NBC Monitor, a weekend-long magazine-style programming block that featured an array of news, music, comedy, drama, sports, and anything that could be broadcast within magazine style, with rotating advertisers and some of the most memorable names in broadcast journalism, entertainment, and sports.

NBC Monitor long outlived Weaver's tenure running the network. Following disputes with chieftain David Sarnoff, Weaver departed. His ideas were either too expensive or too highbrow for company tastes. His successors (first, Sarnoff's son, Robert; then, Robert Kintner) standardized the network's programming practices with far less of the ambitiousness that characterized the Weaver years.

He died in 2002 at his home in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 93.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Lueck, Thomas J. (2002-03-18). "Sylvester Weaver, 93, Dies; Created 'Today' and 'Tonight'". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-20. "Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., a pioneering television executive who created the NBC programs Today and Tonight and did much to shape the medium's pervasive influence, died Friday at his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 93." 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Interview by Sigourney Weaver, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, 8/25/08
  5. ^
  6. ^ Reitwiesner, William Addams (2007). "Ancestry of George W. Bush". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  7. ^ He was a descendant of Charles Laflin, came to this country in 1740 from Ulster, Ireland settling at Oxford Worcester County, Massachusetts whose family were gunpowder manufacturers.

External links

Preceded by
President of NBC
Succeeded by
Robert Sarnoff


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