William H. Tankersley, who defined broadcast standards for CBS during a volatile period of change in mores on television and in American society, doing celebrated battle with envelope pushers like Norman Lear and the Smothers Brothers, died on Feb. 5 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 98.
His death was confirmed by his daughter Marcy Scott.
From the mid-1950s until 1972, when he left CBS to become head of the national Council of Better Business Bureaus, Mr. Tankersley served as the firewall between the viewers of the network’s programs and those writers, producers and advertisers who might willfully or inadvertently offend their sensibilities. He was, in effect, the network’s chief censor, though he would not have labeled his role that way. NY Times