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His struggles at NBC were famously mocked in a 1980 “Weekend Update” segment on the network’s own “Saturday Night Live” when Al Franken, the former U.S. senator who was then one of the show’s writers, declared Silverman a “lame-o with a limo” who commuted to NBC’s New York headquarters by limousine despite the network not having a single hit show.

Fred Silverman, TV executive at 3 major networks, dies at 82 →

, I'll be the one who served eight-and-a-half years in the Senate," Mr. Franken says.

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