Rick Ludwin Collection Edit


Mss. Coll. Ludwin


  • 1937-2011 (Creation)


  • 16 linear feet (Whole)



  • Abstract

    This collection contains items highlighting the career or NBC executive, Rick Ludwin.

  • Language of Materials

    The records are in English

  • Biography of Biography

    Attaining a B.A. in Speech from Miami University in 1970, Rick Ludwin went on to complete a M.A. at Northwestern University. He soon began working in broadcasting for Chicago and Detroit TV stations, then moved on to writing for Bob Hope and Mike Douglas. In free-lance stints for NBC, Ludwin helped to produce Olympathon '79 and the daytime magazine America Alive! While working in Chicago television, he met and impressed Brandon Tartikoff, who soon after was appointed President of NBC Entertainment. Tartikoff offered Ludwin the position of director of variety shows at NBC in 1980. By 1983, Ludwin had been raised to vice president status: 1980 director of variety shows 1983 vice president for specials and variety programs 1989 senior vice president for specials, variety programs and late-night 2005 executive vice president for late-night and primetime series Looking back on his early years with the network Ludwin admits, "I thought I'd be here a year and be fired or would leave out of frustration, and here I am all these years later. It worked out pretty well." Ludwin is credited for the success of series such as The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Unsolved Mysteries and Seinfeld. He has served as executive for numerous NBC hit programs since the '80s, and has made cameo appearances on Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and alongside Bob Hope. He has also supervised landmark prime time specials such as Motown 25, NBC's 60th and 75th Anniversary telecasts, numerous EMMY Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Saturday Night Live prime time specials. Being the "longest-tenured employee at NBC Entertainment," Ludwin "rises up in meetings to argue for what he believes...but rarely stands up to take a bow," according to Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rosenthal. "Without Ludwin, there would have been no Seinfeld. He commissioned the pilot, took money out of his specials budget to keep the show alive and oversaw the program for its entire run." Ludwin's reply, "I don't put that in the category of death-defying leaps. That's what we're supposed to be doing." In his college days at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, Ludwin hosted Studio 14, a variety-comedy show on Miami's WMUB-TV station. He and classmates wrote, produced, directed, and acted the entire live show. "I had this love for live television. There was nothing more exciting," says Ludwin. His connections to Miami University remain strong--visiting the campus regularly to talk with students in the Mass Communication Department. Through the Ludwin connection, Miami has been able to secure campus appearances by Bob Hope and Jay Leno.

  • Scope and Content

    The majority of the Rick Ludwin Collection focuses primarily on NBC TV primetime and late-night programming beginning in the 1980s through the 1990s, with several items from more recent years, as well as a subseries devoted to The Mike Douglas Show, from the late 1970s. Items in the collection include:

    1. magnetic and vinyl media, containing NBC broadcast programs and "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" awards compilations

    2. scripts, treatments, and rehearsal schedules>

    3. industry publications

    4. national news clippings

    5. awards program catalogs

    6. network communications

    7. camera-ready advertising copy

    Included in the collection are historical narratives of broadcast radio and television and the history of NBC, including various mergers and acquisitions over the years. Other special interests highlighted by this collection include:

    1. Bob Hope

    2. Johnny Carson

    3. Jay Leno

    4. Conan O'Brien

    5. Disney

    6. Motown

    7. The Emmy Awards

    8. Seinfeld

    9. Saturday Night Live SNL

    10. Carson Daly

    11. The Mike Douglas Show

    12. Kennedy & Co.

    13. AM America

    Fifteen original Seinfeld table scripts are included; most of which were working copies, reflecting the use of multi-colored pages to call out draft revisions. Other scripts are also contained here--some for primetime, some for broadcast specials such as the landmark three-hour broadcast of SNL'S 25th Anniversary. Several of the scripts include hand notes, presumed to be those of Rick Ludwin. Other documents in this collection are industry-specific, including program development reports, annual independent seasonal reviews covering all major networks, ratings reports, etc. There are also several awards program catalogs from a variety of events ranging from the Emmys to the 23rd American Film Institute Life Achievement Award--presented to Steven Spielberg. Also included are books commemorating the 15th and 20th anniversaries of The Comedy Store, which opened its doors on the Sunset Strip in 1972. These provide biographical and anecdotal information and several photographs of the people who continue to impact a broad sector within the American entertainment industry. Additional industry related monographs in this collection are cataloged within the Miami University Libraries' collections. The monographs can be located using a keyword search for "Rick Ludwin" in the online catalog. All items in this collection are organized chronologically within series.

  • Statement of Arrangement

    Series I: Program Scripts, Treatments, and Rehearsal Schedules Series II: NBC Newsletter, Press Releases and Marketing Collateral Series III: Press Clip Packages Series IV: Magazine Articles and News Clippings Series V: Magazines Series VI: The Hollywood Reporter - TV Season Guides/Previews Series VII: Program Development Projects and Reports Series VIII: Awards Program Catalogs/Awards Series IX: Miscellaneous Publications Series X: TV Guide Advertisements camera-ready. Series XI: Broadcast Programs and Awards Compilations - DVD Series XII: Broadcast Programs and Awards Compilations - VHS Series XIII: Broadcast Programs - Vinyl Series XIV: Broadcast Programs - U-matic Series XV: The Mike Douglas Show Series XVI: Memorabilia Series XVII: "Studio 14" WMUB-TV Recordings Series XVIII: WLS-TV Chicago Series XIX: Bob Kennedy and AM America

  • Related Material

    WMUB Archives (http://digital.lib.miamioh.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/wmub-merged/): contains WMUB TV and Radio recordings found in Series XI and XVII

  • Restrictions on Access

    This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries.

  • Restrictions on Use

    Reproduction of materials in the collection is subject to the restrictions of copyright law. To use materials not yet in the public domain, the researcher must obtain permission from the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    Rick Ludwin Collection, Walter Havighurst Special Collections, Miami University Libraries