Robert Blackmore, a longtime NBC ad sales executive who rose to EVP and oversaw the industry’s first billion-dollar upfront, has died. His family said he died March 9, a week before his 91st birthday.
A Los Angeles native, Blackmore served in the Army Air Corps before launching his TV career as a page and sales service rep for CBS in Hollywood. He joined crosstown rival NBC in 1953 as a sales supervisor with NBC Films. After stints in San Francisco and Chicago, Blackmore returned to LA in 1963 to open a sales office for the Peacock’s Today and The Tonight Show, the latter featuring then-new host Johnny Carson.
Two years later, Blackmore moved east to become a network account exec in New York, where he would spend the rest of his career. There he rose to EVP Ad Sales, presiding over NBC’s record-breaking $1 billion upfront in 1985-1986. He also handled ad sales and marketing for NBC’s coverage of three Summer Olympics, in 1980, 1988 and 1992.
Blackmore officially “retired” in 1994 — the year he was inducted into the National Sales Hall of Fame — but three years, he later co-founded Studio One Networks, the first Internet syndicated content marketing company.
He is survived by daughters Robin and Karyn and their husbands, along with four grandsons.