Ned Grossberg

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The evil head of Network 23 who prized ratings and profits over a few exploding viewers, and later became the chairman of rival network Network 66, was the only major character renamed between the telefilm and ABC series.

Name Change

In the telefilm, this character was simply known as Mr. Grosman, and played by Nickolas Grace. In the translation to American, he became Ned Grossberg. There are several reason why the name was changed... and more reasons why it wasn't changed to something else.

In 1986, the head of NBC's news division was the well-known Lawrence Grossman. While it's possible that Steve Roberts and the creative team behind the UK telefilm used his name knowingly, it was the opinion of Lorimar and ABC that making fun of a rival executive on US TV was a bad idea, and so Max ran into one of the first bluntings of his acid satire.

It is also possible that the character name changed to make it more euphonious... not with Ned (and perhaps Edward in some forgotten show note)... but with "Brandon." Brandon Grossman is an awkward name to say; Brandon Grossberg is a bit smoother. But Brandon, the original given name of this evil character, ran into the same lack of appreciation for industry satire as "Grossman." Brandon Tartikoff was the very well-known whiz-kid head of programming at NBC, who took over as president of the entertainment division (and thus had final say on programming) - and turned NBC from a last-place network to a powerhouse prime-time channel. Like "Grossman," "Brandon" was considered a little too close to home for ABC executive comfort.

So Nickolas Grace's glass-smooth "Mr. Grosman" became Charles Rocket's oily, eely "Ned Grossberg."

Which didn't stop rival ABC program "Sledge Hammer" from having an evil TV Executive who was not only named "Brandon Smartikoff" in their Max Headroom parody episode, but had it played by an actor who resembled Tartikoff.

Brandon Tartikoff, by the way, died just ten years later, at the very early age of 48, with a television career of more significance and influence than men decades older.