Who Is Barry Diller?

Barry Diller is a renowned media executive who oversaw the development of film and television content at ABC, Paramount, the Fox Broadcasting Company, and QVC. Diller is the founder of InterActiveCorp, IAC, a media and internet holding company where he serves as chairman and senior executive.

Ksy Takeaways

  • Barry Diller oversaw the launches of television hits "Cheers" and "The Simpsons" while working for Paramount and Fox.
  • Barry Diller and Rupert Murdoch launched the Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986.
  • Diller founded internet and media conglomerate IAC, parent company to Angi, the Daily Beast, and Dotdash Meredith, in 1995.
  • He developed Pier 55, "Little Island," a park and performance venue in the Hudson River.

Early Life and Education

Barry Diller was born on Feb. 2, 1942, in San Francisco, California, and attended the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his career as a mail clerk for the Hollywood talent agency William Morris.

In 1964, Diller joined the American Broadcasting Company, ABC.

ABC

In 1964, Diller was hired as a programming assistant at ABC where he learned to negotiate broadcasting rights for feature films.

By 1965, Diller assumed the role of vice-president of development. He helped ABC compete with rival networks by introducing successful programming innovations such as the TV mini-series, most notably Roots, and the Movie of the Week. Diller's made-for-TV movies quickly became an industry standard.

Paramount Pictures

In 1974, Diller joined Paramount Pictures as chair and CEO. During his tenure, Paramount became the most successful of the Hollywood studios, producing such movies as Saturday Night Fever and Raiders of the Lost Ark and the popular television series Cheers.

In addition to Paramount, Barry Diller served as president of the conglomerate's newly formed Entertainment and Communications Group, which included Simon & Schuster, Inc., Madison Square Garden Corporation, and SEGA Enterprises, Inc. 

In 1984, Diller moved to Twentieth Century Fox and helped launch the Fox Broadcasting Company.

Fox Broadcasting

From 1984 to 1992, Barry Diller served as chair and CEO of the movie studio Twentieth-Century Fox.

With Rupert Murdoch, chairman of NewsCorp and parent company of Fox, Diller launched the television network, Fox Broadcasting Company, to compete with rivals ABC, CBS, and NBC. He oversaw the development of popular shows such as Married ... With Children, Beverly Hill 90210, and The Simpsons.

Diller resigned from Fox in 1992 to lead the QVC Network as CEO.

IAC

Barry Diller remained at QVC until 1995 when he became chair of Expedia and CEO of Silver King Communications, the predecessor of InterActive Corporation, IAC, a media and internet holding company.

During the 1990s and the early stage of internet shopping, Diller realized that technical leaps in interactivity would revolutionize commerce. In developing what would become IAC, Diller acquired and transformed companies that could buy and sell products online such as the Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster, Expedia, and USA Interactive.

In 2022, IAC operates online brands such as Dotdash Meredith, Care.com, Angi Homeservices, and the Daily Beast.

Broadway

Barry Diller is an active producer on Broadway and his credits include To Kill A Mockingbird, The Iceman Cometh, Carousel, Three Tall Women, A Doll’s House, Part 2, The Humans, and Betrayal. Through the Diller-von Furstenburg Family Foundation, he has supported projects for Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, The Public Theater, and Motion Picture & Television Fund. Diller also created Little Island, a park and performance center in the Hudson River.

How Does Barry Diller Support New York City?

In addition to actively funding and producing Broadway entertainment, Barry Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenburg, an influential fashion mogul, have developed public properties in New York City, including High Line Park and Little Island.

Who Has Barry Diller Mentored in the Media Industry?

Diller is known for mentoring successful media professionals such as Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and Jeffrey Katzenberg, founder, and CEO of DreamWorks SKG and DreamWorks Animation.

How Did QVC Influence Barry Diller's Move Into Interactive Media?

While at QVC in the late 1990s, Barry Diller realized that sales completed by telephone could easily be completed online through the internet. Diller acquired the Home Shopping Network and Ticketmaster in 1997 and moved both to an online format. Today, his InterActive Corporation, IAC, is the parent to dozens of popular online brands and services used by millions of consumers each day.

The Bottom Line

Barry Diller is regarded as an influential leader in the media industry who has led multiple television and movie companies, including ABC, Fox Broadcasting Company, and Paramount. He is the chair and senior executive of IAC, a media and internet holding company that Diller created in 1995.

Barry Diller is chair of IAC Corporation, which owns Investopedia's parent company, Dotdash Meredith.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Marley Brant. "Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms, 1974-1984."

  2. Reference for Business. "Barry Diller 1942 - ."

  3. Turner Classic Movies. "Barry Diller, Executive."

  4. Funding Universe. "QVC Inc. History."

  5. IAC. "Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive."

  6. IAC. "Our Brands."

  7. Hudson River Park Friends & Hudson River Park Trust. "Little Island."

  8. Frank Rose. "Barry Diller Has No Vision of the Future of the Internet."

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