Stu Billett With The Diamond Circle Award
Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters' Past President Chuck Street presented the organization's Diamond Circle Award to Stu Billett at the November 18, 2016 luncheon honoring Regis Philbin. Below are Mr. Street's remarks introducing Mr. Billett.
Today's Diamond Circle inductee is a "regular guy" who has accomplished extraordinary things!
He grew up in the New York City area and after graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon completion of his military service, he enrolled at NYU with help from the G.I. Bill. It was about this time that Stu developed an interest in writing. Writing for television.
As luck would have it, he was meeting with his college guidance counselor when the office telephone rang. It was a producer from the hit TV show "The 64- Thousand Dollar Question." The producer asked if the counselor knew of any promising NYU students who he would recommend for an internship with the show. The counselor said "As a matter of fact I have someone with me right now. He is very bright and has a promising future. I will send him right over."
This was the beginning of a most exciting and illustrious career for our inductee. Within a short time Stu was working full time for the production company, developing concepts for new game shows. For the next 20 years he worked in television, mostly producing game shows. He served as associate producer of “Who Do You Trust?,” hosted by a young Johnny Carson. Then Stu went on to create and produce the game show "One In A Million" for Merv Griffin Productions. From 1970 to 1977 he was head of development for Monty Hall-Stef Hatos Productions, where he sold several shows to the three networks including ABC's "Split Second."
In 1977 Stu formed his own production company. A new idea had been brought to his attention and it involved featuring small claims cases in a court room setting. He brought the concept to legendary TV broadcaster Ralph Edwards and "The People's Court" was born. Their collaboration led to five other new, syndicated TV series, as well as a revival of Edwards' “Truth or Consequences.”
Eventually Ralph Edwards asked Stu to be an equal partner in the production of his television shows. Edwards had never asked anyone else to be a partner. He believed in Stu that much.
And as you know, "The People's Court" is still on the air. It has aired continuously for 33 years and Stu continues as its executive producer.
Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome the newest member of The Diamond Circle...."A Regular Guy", Mr. Stu Billett.
Stu Billett Accepting His Diamond Circle Award