Geoffrey Neigher, ‘Rhoda’ Writer and Emmy-Winning ‘Picket Fences’ Producer, Dies at 78

Geoffrey Neigher, the TV writer-producer who penned episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda and Murder One and shared an Emmy for outstanding drama series for his work on Picket Fences, has died. He was 78.

Neigher died Aug. 10 at his Hancock Park home in Los Angeles of complications from cancer, his wife, Karen, told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Neigher had a writing credit/story editor credit on about two dozen episodes of CBS’ Rhoda during its first three seasons (1974-77) while also serving as executive script consultant on the Valerie Harper sitcom.

Neigher wrote and produced for CBS’ Picket Fences on its second and third seasons from 1993-95 and shared the top drama Emmy with series creator David E. Kelley and others in 1994.

A year earlier, he received an Emmy nomination for writing an episode of Northern Exposure; he wrote for and produced that CBS drama during its fourth season (1992-93).

He later wrote and produced ABC’s Murder One during its two seasons (1995-97).

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Geoffrey Mark Neigher graduated from Yale University and Yale Law School. After moving to Los Angeles in 1973, he and writing partner Coleman “Chick” Mitchell worked for MTM Enterprises on The Bob Newhart Show, Rhoda and Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers.

He and Coleman also wrote and produced the NBC comedy Gimme a Break! during its first two seasons (1981-83).

Neigher’s résumé also included work on such other shows as The New Odd Couple, We Got It Made, the Elizabeth Peña-starring I Married Dora, Roomies, John Doe and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his children, Julie and Eric; daughter-in-law Jennifer; grandchildren Atticus and Wilhelmina; and brothers Rick and Steve. A memorial service is planned for the autumn.

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