"Everything that appears on this network shall be what it purports to be."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, William Tankersley (1918-2016) discusses his start in CBS promotions and merchandising and his rise to Head of Program Standards & Practices. He recalls CBS' rules about violence, drug use, and political views in television programs. He outlines specific problems Standards & Practices had with The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, All In the Family, and Route 66. Tankersley talks of the differences between his positions in New York and Los Angeles, explains the intricacies of working with program sponsors and advertisers, and comments on what he believes the government's role in broadcasting should be. He talks about what he looked for in his editing staff, recounts working with fellow CBS executives Frank Stanton and Jim Aubrey, and shares stories of some of his favorite entertainers, including Red Skelton and Dick Van Dyke. Don Carleton conducted the interview on May 17, 2001 in Wharton, VA.