Mr. Chayefsky “was very charming, and he was very funny about some of the people he’d seen,” Mr. Wald told Dave Itzkoff for his book “Mad as Hell: The Making of ‘Network’ and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies” (2014). “Which led me to believe that he was not going to treat them kindly.”
Mr. Wald resigned from NBC News in 1977 after disputes with the network’s upper management over issues like the signing of exclusive and expensive contracts with former President Gerald R. Ford; his wife, Betty; and Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, to appear on special NBC News broadcasts.
Although he endorsed the signings at the time, he later came to feel that the fees paid had led to cuts in his budget for special news reports and documentaries, The New York Times reported at the time.
After leaving NBC, Mr. Wald consulted with PBS on the future of news-gathering on public television and for three months was a special assistant to Otis Chandler, publisher of The Los Angeles Times.
When Mr. Arledge recruited him to join ABC News in 1978, Mr. Wald had to adjust to the culture there, especially in the Washington bureau, which did not greet him happily.
“If you think we need some guy from NBC to help us, you’re mistaken,” Frank Reynolds, one of three anchors on ABC’s “World News Tonight,” said, according to Mr. Arledge’s memoir.
Mr. Wald adapted and stayed for 21 years.
In addition to his sons Matthew, a former reporter for The New York Times, and Jonathan, a former executive producer of “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” Mr. Wald, who lived in Larchmont, N.Y., is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Wald; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson. His wife, Edith (Leslie) Wald, died in 2021.