For me his greatest achievement was how much of a mensch he was. As a leader he was kind, thoughtful, smart, and treated everyone with respect. His philosophy was to hire the best people (like Allan Burns and James L. Brooks for "The Mary Tyler Moore Show") and let them do their thing. Instead of injecting his own creative input (i.e. “notes”) he took on the role of protector – standing up for his writers against the networks, shielding them from unwanted interference. There’s no one like that today. Not even close.Not everything Tinker did was a smash hit. In 1988, my wife and I both worked on the nationally-syndicated "USA Today: The TV Show," which was co-produced by Gannett and Tinker's company. It had four anchors (one for each color-coded section of the newspaper): Edie Magnus, Bill Macatee, Robin Young, and Boyd Matson. It was a ratings disaster that had the disadvantage of terrible time slots in major markets -- and was downgraded from there. Towards the end, we joked that it was nothing more than "USA Today: The TV Guide Listing."
MTM was Camelot for writers in the ‘70s. It’s where all TV writers wanted to work. When David Isaacs and I were starting out, MTM was our brass ring.