Alumnus and NBC executive Rick Ludwin dies

He was credited for getting "Seinfeld" on the air


In March 2019, the TV studio in Miami’s Williams Hall was renamed the Rick Ludwin Studio.

Rick Ludwin (Miami ’70), a longtime NBC executive credited for getting “Seinfeld” on the air, died Sunday, Nov. 10, in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 71.

Ludwin, who returned to Miami’s Oxford campus every year to meet with students, was honored in March 2019 when the TV studio in Miami’s Williams Hall was renamed the Rick Ludwin Studio.

A mass communication major who grew up in Rocky River, Ohio, he started at NBC in 1980 and went on to become executive vice president for late night and prime time series at NBC Entertainment. He oversaw many specials and shows, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “Saturday Night Live.”

In a summer 2007 Miamian article, he said his prized possession was a Jan. 25, 1968, TV Guide that listed his debut, while an undergraduate, as host of Studio 14, a variety-comedy show in Williams Hall on what was then Miami University’s WMUB-TV (Channel 14). He and his classmates wrote and produced the live show.

Proud of his start at Miami, he supported the university’s Inside Hollywood Program, endowed a scholarship to honor his mentor, Professor Bill Utter, and donated memorabilia and 15 original “Seinfeld” scripts to Miami’s Walter Havighurst Special Collections and Archives in King Library.

In a spring 1998 Miamian article, Ludwin said working on a show such as Seinfeld was a once-in-a-career opportunity.

“There is no question this will be the biggest sitcom I’ll be involved with,” he said. “Every decade has a show that defines the decade — “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “I Love Lucy,” “M.A.S.H.” “Seinfeld” is the show that defined the ’90s.”

The following are tributes to Richard A. “Rick” Ludwin, from Conan O'Brien to Seth Meyers to The Miami Student: