In the mid '70s, Henry S. Schleiff worked for Wall Street law firm Davis, Polk & Wardell, a place, he says, that "distinguished itself by having absolutely no entertainment clients. When I got Variety delivered there, they didn't know what it was."
If that weren't a sign of his interest in show business, then his free-lancing lines to then-new Saturday Night Live were. (However, he points out, producers bought only about four of his gags.)
"I always wanted to combine my passion for entertainment and my education and experience in law," he says. So Schleiff left the firm, moving to Viacom in 1978, "before they changed the pronunciation" (from the pre-Redstone "Vee-a-com" to today's "Vye-a-com") as assistant general counsel and then in 1980 on to HBO.
Returning to Viacom, he served as senior vice president of Viacom International from 1987 to 1992, overseeing production of prime time network and first-run programs, syndication and owned stations.
In the early'90s, he began producing programs himself, including a pilot for what became Lifetime's Intimate Portrait series. He was the executive producer for HBO's film Witness Protection, which was nominated for a Golden Globe.
Schleiff, who became chairman and CEO of Court TV in late 1998, had been executive vice president for Studios USA.
As a University of Pennsylvania law student in 1974, Schleiff clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Murray Gurfein, who wrote the Pentagon Papers decision.
A native of New York, he lives in Manhattan with his wife, Peggy, and two sons, Harry and Sidney.-P.J.B.