In 1974, he joined NBC as Director of Weekend Late Night Programming. In 1975 Ebersol and Lorne Michaels conceived and developed Saturday Night Live. Named as Vice President of Late Night Programming at age 28, Ebersol became NBC's first vice president under the age of 30. After a brief departure, he returned to SNL in 1981 as executive producer and remained until 1985, spanning the Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal eras.
In December 2003, Ebersol agreed to a nine-year contract to continue running NBC Sports & Olympics through 2012. He assumed the title as Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics in May 2004 when NBC and Universal merged.
the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 (the most-watched event in U.S. television history with a record 215 million viewers)
the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010 (second-most watched Winter Olympics in history with 190 million viewers)
It is currently the second-most viewed program of all time. The Super Bowl milestone was made possible in 2005 when Ebersol spearheaded the effort to return the NFL to NBC by negotiating a six-year agreement that included moving the NFL primetime broadcast package from Monday night to Sunday night, flexible scheduling for the first time ever, and Super Bowls in 2009 and 2012.
On May 19, 2011, Ebersol resigned from NBC Sports. The New York Times stated that he intended to stay at NBC through the end of June 2011. It was later reported that Ebersol would return to NBC Sports in time for the beginning of the 2011 NFL season to serve in a senior adviser role.
Ebersol has often been in the top 10 honorees on The Sporting News annual list of the 100 most powerful sports figures, including in 1996 when he was named the Most Powerful Person in Sports. In 1992, Ebersol was awarded the Olympic Order, an honor periodically bestowed by the International Olympic Committee to recognize remarkable contributions to the Olympic Movement.
In 2005, Ebersol was inducted into both the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
In 2008, NBC won the Peabody Award for its coverage of the Beijing Opening Ceremony along with Chinese film director Zhang Yimou, who served as the event's creative director. At the 2009 SportsBusiness Journal awards ceremony, Ebersol won Sports Executive of the Year and NBC Sports won Best in Sports Television.
Ebersol was previously married to former Wheel of Fortune hostess Susan Stafford from 1976 to 1981. They had no children. He has been married to actress Susan Saint James since 1981. They have three sons together, Charlie, Willie, and Teddy, who died in a plane crash in 2004. Saint James has two children from a previous marriage.
2004 plane crash
On November 28, 2004, a private charter jet, a Bombardier Challenger CL-600, carrying Ebersol and two of his sons, Charlie and Teddy, crashed during an attempted takeoff from Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado. The jet's captain, Luis Polanco, flight attendant Warren T. Richardson III, and Teddy Ebersol were killed. Dick and his older son, Charlie, along with the first officer, survived, though seriously injured. Charlie was thrown clear of the plane and rushed back inside and managed to pull his father to safety.