Don Browne, the former president of the Telemundo Communications Group who led the broadcaster’s big push into original content, died Wednesday at his home in Miami Beach. He was 80.
“Don leaves behind a legacy of championing Spanish-language media and Hispanics at Telemundo and throughout the industry,” Telemundo said in a statement. “A visionary leader, Don earned a national reputation for his leadership in the recruitment and career development of women and minorities. His memory as a dedicated father, husband, friend and mentor to so many will be cherished by all of his colleagues and the entire Telemundo family.”
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Browne led Telemundo, the world’s second-largest provider of Spanish-language content, from 2005 until his retirement in 2011. During his tenure, it went from zero original programming to more than 1,000 hours of original primetime productions and aligned with Mexican media giant Televisa to distribute its programs in the country across multiple platforms.
Earlier, Browne served as executive vp of NBC News in New York from 1991-93 and then president and G.M. of WTVJ, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Miami. He also was a key member of the NBC team that was involved in the purchase of the Telemundo network in 2001.
A native of Toms River, New Jersey, Browne attended the University of South Carolina, where he played football and ran track, before graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He worked for CBS News for more than a decade and was NBC’s Miami bureau chief from 1979-89 before becoming NBC News’ executive news director in 1989. There, he was the executive in charge of the Today show and helped in the creation of the primetime news magazine Dateline.
Inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2008, Browne also co-founded a mentor and scholarship program for at-risk high school girls.
Survivors include his sons, Christopher and Ryan. His wife of 20 years, Maria, died in 2021.
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