Eric Illowsky, Veteran Cable Executive Who Helped Launch Sci Fi Channel, Dies at 66

Eric Illowsky, a cable TV veteran who helped launch the original Sci Fi Channel in the early 1990s, died June 15 at in Peekskill, New York after a battle with glioblastoma brain cancer.

Illowsky started his career at Disney Channel in 1985 and later moved to Cox Cable. He worked in cable throughout the 1980s and ’90s. He then segued to a a 10-year run Hollywood Media Corp., owner of and More recently he worked as a media consultant to Warner Bros., CAA and Speed Channel.

Illowsky grew up in Rockland County, New York and was a childhood friend of David Zaslav, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery.

“Eric was not just a colleague but a cherished and admired friend by all who knew him, including me. In high school, he was given a ‘heart of gold’ superlative because he was truly one of the kindest people we all knew and everyone was always rooting for him,” Zaslav told Variety.

“What I found most inspiring about Eric was that anytime you saw him, no matter how tough the circumstances, he helped ground you in all that was good. He would always have a little twinkle in his eye and ask the simple but powerful question ‘How lucky are we’ to be where we are and have done all that we have done. Eric was one of a kind.”

In the early 1990s, Illowsky joined the group of entrepreneurs who launched the Sci Fi Channel as an independent channel in 1992. USA Network acquired the channel two years later. (NBCUniversal changed the channel’s moniker to Syfy).

After working in media consulting, Illowsky moved into entrepreneurial ventures in the sectors of travel and environmental tech.

Illowsky’s survivors include two children, Adam and Dara; and a sister, Cynthia Korman. The family requests that donations be made in Illowsky’s memory can be made to the Glioblastoma Foundation and the Westchester County ASPCA.

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