TV sports, news pioneer Roone Arledge dies. The creator of ''Monday Night Football'' and ''Nightline'' was 71

Roone Arledge, the ABC executive largely responsible for turning sports and news into primetime entertainment, died in New York Thursday at age 71 from prostate cancer, according to a statement by the network. He had retired in 1998 after five decades in broadcasting, during which he ran ABC’s sports and news divisions and turned television’s coverage of both into personality- and narrative-driven spectacles.

In the 1960s, Arledge championed such novel production techniques as the instant replay, the freeze-frame, and the use of hand-held cameras to add immediacy and entertainment value to football coverage. He added drama to TV sports, making a star of controversial sportscaster Howard Cosell and packaging a variety of events under the ”ABC’s Wide World of Sports” banner and coining (along with sportscaster Jim McKay) that show’s phrase, ”the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”). He introduced the personality profile to Olympics coverage, making stars of obscure amateur athletes. In 1970, he launched ”Monday Night Football,” giving sports a permanent place in the primetime lineup.

In 1977, he added leadership of ABC’s news division to his responsibilities. He created starmaking vehicles for the network’s underused in-house news personalities — ”Nightline” for Ted Koppel, ”World News Tonight” for Peter Jennings, ”20/20” for Barbara Walters — or for those newscasters he lured away from other networks — ”This Week” for David Brinkley, ”Primetime” for Diane Sawyer. He spent lavishly to recruit and keep his anchors, driving the price up for newscasters at all national TV news outlets and turning them into stars who are as famous and well-paid as the newsmakers they cover.

In September, Arledge won a lifetime achievement Emmy, adding to the 36 Emmys he’d already won. The occasion showed that even Arledge’s competitors acknowledged his pervasive influence, with a testimonial from Don Hewitt — the producer of ”60 Minutes” at CBS and the only executive in network news whose longevity and influence rivals Arledge’s — saying, ”Just about everything that’s good in television has a Roone Arledge trademark on it.”