About / Biographies

Arnold Labaton

Executive Producer


Photo by Sam Pinczuk

Arnold Labaton is an award-winning producer and executive with more than 40 years experience in television production and management. He has served as executive producer on a number of PBS programs including MEDIA MATTERS, a series of primetime specials about the news media; two feature-length documentaries, ARGUING THE WORLD about four New York intellectuals and A LIFE APART, a look inside the American Hasidic Jewish community; and the nine-hour miniseries, HERITAGE: CIVILIZATION AND THE JEWS WITH ABBA EBAN. He was also Thirteen/WNET’s executive producer on MESSENGERS FROM MOSCOW (co-produced with the BBC).

From 1991 through 1992, Labaton was executive director of PBS’ 1992 election coverage.

Between 1978 and 1991 as vice president and deputy head, and then as senior vice president and head of Thirteen/WNET’s Production Center, Labaton oversaw the development and production of several national series and specials including: THE MACNEIL/LEHRER NEWSHOUR, GREAT PERFORMANCES, NATURE and AMERICAN MASTERS.

Prior to joining Thirteen/WNET, Labaton was director of New York City’s Municipal Broadcasting System and the CEO of the city’s public radio and television stations, WNYC-AM, FM and TV. He was also one of the founding executives of PBS, serving as its first director of Operations between 1970 and 1974.

Labaton began working in television at CBS in 1958. His career there included serving as WCBS-TV’s Manager of Production Operations, overseeing such series as CAMERA THREE, AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE, EYE ON NEW YORK and SUNRISE SEMESTER as well as many specials ranging from Joseph Papp’s SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK and the TONY AWARDS to NEW YEAR’S EVE WITH GUY LOMBARDO. In 1965, he became production supervisor for CBS news on regularly scheduled programs and a variety of specials including coverage of elections, space missions, and the Vietnam War. He was also the director of remote production of CBS News’ coverage of Apollo 11.

He has received a number of awards including two Peabodys, the Christopher and the Emmy. He is a graduate of the City College of New York where he majored in philosophy.