Bill Geddie, who created the ABC talk show The View with Barbara Walters, produced many of her audience-grabbing TV specials and served as a partner in her production company for a quarter-century, has died. He was 68.
Geddie died Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage of a heart-related issue, his daughter Allison told The Hollywood Reporter.
“He was a big deal in TV, but at home he was an even ‘bigger than life’ husband and dad,” his family said in a statement. “He had a genuine love for television and entertainment. He would try everything and did it well — screenwriting, recording podcasts, playing guitar and writing songs and loved a wide range of music from country to jazz.
“His favorite band was The Beatles, and he never thought he would have the opportunity to meet one of his personal heroes, Paul McCartney, in person, but his dream came true. The question wasn’t who did he meet, but rather who didn’t he meet?”
Geddie began working with Walters in 1988 on her television specials (also writing and directing after taking over for producer Phyllis McGrady) and served as executive producer/showrunner on The View from its 1997 start through 2014, when he was ousted amid efforts to “evolve the show creatively.”
Geddie, who partnered with Walters in her BarWall production company, was nominated for 13 Daytime Emmys for his work on The View, winning in 2003, and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He collected six Primetime Emmy noms as well.
Born in San Antonio on July 17, 1955, William Fredrick Geddie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977. He got his start in the news business KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City, polishing the floors at the ABC affiliate. That led to him running a camera for newscasts.
He later worked as a news cameraman and editor at WKYC-TV in Cleveland and as a producer at PM Magazine based in San Francisco before he moved to New York City to join Good Morning America.
“I would say to [Walters] all the time, ‘We should do a daytime show,’ because I’m with Barbara Walters, right? She could do anything. [But] she never showed any real interest,” he recalled. “Then one day we were waiting for a long lighting session and she says to me, ‘You know, my conversations with my daughter are so interesting. We come at the world from a different point of view. So do you think there’s a show in that?’”
Geddie wrote it up and called it Everybody’s a Critic. He said ABC News president Roone Arledge thought the show was “a terrible idea” given it was a “terrible time slot” and felt it was “dangerous” for Walters and her career. “He was right. But we forged ahead,” Geddie said.
Geddie also exec produced a 2016 Fox News Channel special hosted by Megyn Kelly, where she interviewed Donald Trump, Michael Douglas and others, and Tamron Hall’s talk show for ABC in 2019-20.
He wrote the sci-fi film Unforgettable (1996), which starred Ray Liotta and Linda Fiorentino, and his Bill Geddie Productions produced dozens of original hours for the Discovery Channel.
In addition to his daughter Allison, survivors include another daughter, Lauren, and his wife of nearly 45 years, Barbara; they met at KOCO when she was an on-air reporter.
Geddie “enjoyed connecting with people, and we know we are not the only ones who will miss his encouraging way of positive guidance,” the family said. “He did so with enthusiasm mixed with sarcasm. His special style of humor was filled with puns. He believed in honesty. He was a kind man of integrity and always wanted to do the right thing. He lived by example.”