Scheuer, Influential Early TV Critic, Dies at 88

Critic-historian broke ground in 1950s with listings and reviews
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Steven H. Scheuer, a pioneering television critic and historian, has died of congestive heart failure in New York City. He was 88.

Scheuer began his career in the 1950s as an assistant director for CBS until he decided to dedicate himself to fixing what he called the “backwards” practice of positive reviews coming after live television had already aired. Scheuer’s industry connections made it possible for him to receive preview scripts and invitations to live tapings. 

In 1953 Scheuer began TV Key, a syndicated column that offered television listings and reviews in advance. The New York City native eventually expanded to editing the book Movies on TV, an almanac of reviews for movies featured on the small screen. In 1989, the book was modernized to include new technology and renamed Movies on TV and Videocassette. The series ended in 1993 after 17 editions.

Scheuer also hosted All About TV, a New York area broadcast on which he discussed television and media with fellow insiders.

Over 5,000 of Scheuer’s scripts can now be found at The Steven H. Scheuer Collection of Television Program Scripts in Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Syracuse University holds almost 300 boxes of his papers, letters, articles and photographs.

Scheuer, who died May 31, is survived by his wife, Alida Brill, sister Amy, four children, and three grandchildren.

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