James Loper, a founder and past president of KCET, LA’s former longtime PBS outlet, and longtime head of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, has died. His family tells the Los Angeles Times that Loper died Monday at his Pasadena home. He was 81. Loper helped establish KCET while a doctoral student at USC in the early 1960s. He was the station’s first director of educational television when it went on the air in 1964. Two years later he became vice president and later general manager and president, a position he held until 1983. During that time KCET produced three Peabody Award-winning programs: Hollywood Television Theater, which debuted in 1970; the Visions series in 1976; and Cosmos, the 1980 miniseries co-produced with astronomer Carl Sagan. Loper “left an indelible mark on the history of KCET and public television”, KCETLink CEO Al Jerome said in a statement to the Times. “Jim launched several national productions that aligned the Hollywood entertainment community with the newly emerging national program service PBS.” Loper went on to serve as executive director of the Television Academy from 1984 through 1999. During his tenure, the Emmy Awards were expanded to include cable. Loper also oversaw the academy’s move into its North Hollywood headquarters and the founding of the Archive of American Television, which chronicles television history through on-camera interviews with TV legends.
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