Ludwin was NBC's executive vice president in charge of special programming in 1989 when he pushed for NBC to air the show then known as The Seinfeld Chronicles, despite negative market testing. NBC used funding from Ludwin's department to pay for Seinfeld's first season, scrapping a planned Bob Hope special. "The headline for Rick Ludwin should be 'NBC's unsung hero.' I absolutely believe that," Warren Littlefield, who was NBC Entertainment president during the network's 1990s glory days, said in 2005. "Rick goes down as an NBC patron saint." Ludwin, who began his career writing jokes for Bob Hope, spent much of his 31 years at NBC as vice-president of late-night programming, working with everybody from Johnny Carson to Jimmy Fallon to David Letterman and Conan O'Brien while also overseeing Saturday Night Live. Ludwin departed the post in 2011 after siding with Conan over Jay Leno in The Tonight Show feud. "He was a champion for Conan O'Brien inside NBC when he had few," tweeted Josef Adalian. Ludwin touted NBC's late-night even in retirement, tweeting praise for recent SNL sketches.