Fred M. Dressler, former executive VP of programming at Time Warner Cable, died Dec. 24 after several months of battling pancreatic cancer. He was 66.
Dressler—a prominent and well-regarded industry executive whose cable career spanned 30 years—retired from Time Warner Cable at the end of 2006. He spent 20 of those years heading up the company’s programming operation, where he built a reputation for innovation and as a tough but fair negotiator with networks seeking carriage on the cable operator.
He was a vocal critic of high sports-network costs and is credited for establishing the separate digital sports tier. He also helped to lead the cable company’s efforts in video-on-demand, digital-video recorders and HD programming.
After leaving Time Warner Cable, Dressler continued to advise media firms such as the British Broadcasting Corp., Crown Media Holdings, MusicNet, Retirement Living TV and Univision.
“Fred was quite simply a great teacher, mentor and friend,” said Andy Heller, Turner Network Sales’ president of domestic distribution. “His continuous acts of selflessness have left their mark on me and countless others in the industry.