Don Browne, the former president of the Telemundo Communications Group who was instrumental in the broadcaster’s expansion into original content, passed away at his home in Miami Beach at the age of 80. Telemundo, the world’s second-largest provider of Spanish-language content, expressed their condolences and praised Browne for his contributions to the industry.
In a statement, Telemundo said, “Don leaves behind a legacy of championing Spanish-language media and Hispanics at Telemundo and throughout the industry. A visionary leader, Don earned a national reputation for his leadership in the recruitment and career development of women and minorities. His memory as a dedicated father, husband, friend, and mentor to so many will be cherished by all of his colleagues and the entire Telemundo family.”
Browne led Telemundo from 2005 until his retirement in 2011, during which the network underwent a significant transformation. Under his leadership, Telemundo went from producing no original programming to creating over 1,000 hours of original primetime productions. Additionally, Browne facilitated a partnership with Mexican media giant, Televisa, to distribute Telemundo’s programs in Mexico across multiple platforms.
Prior to his tenure at Telemundo, Browne held various positions within the NBC network. He served as executive vice president of NBC News in New York from 1991 to 1993, followed by his appointment as president and general manager of WTVJ, NBC’s owned-and-operated station in Miami. Browne was also a key member of the NBC team involved in the acquisition of the Telemundo network in 2001, further indicating his influential role within the company.
Born in Toms River, New Jersey, Browne attended the University of South Carolina, where he excelled in both football and track. He later graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Browne’s journalism career began at CBS News, where he worked for over a decade. He then became NBC’s Miami bureau chief from 1979 to 1989 before assuming the position of executive news director at NBC News in 1989. At NBC News, Browne played a pivotal role in the management of the Today show and contributed to the development of the primetime news magazine Dateline.
In recognition of his significant contributions to the broadcasting industry, Browne was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2008. Beyond his professional achievements, Browne also co-founded a mentorship and scholarship program aimed at supporting at-risk high school girls.
Don Browne is survived by his two sons, Christopher and Ryan. His wife, Maria, whom he was married to for 20 years, sadly passed away in 2001. Browne’s contributions to Telemundo and the Spanish-language media industry will be remembered and celebrated by his colleagues, friends, and all those who benefited from his mentorship and leadership.