In today's world of web shorts and viral videos, it's hard to imagine that in 1990 Vin Di Bona had to place magazine advertisements in magazines, asking readers to send him their funny home videos.
Di Bona's idea was part of a revolution in television and media. In 1990, he produced "America's Funniest Home Videos." The show was an instant success, and it made Di Bona an important player in the rise of reality television.
Since "Videos" premiered he has produced a slew of reality-based specials including the "I Survived a Disaster" series and a family game show entitled "The Big Moment."
Still, "Videos" is by far his greatest hit.
When he started the show in 1990, he placed advertisements in TV Guide and People magazine. He received far more submissions than he expected — about 2,000 a day.
The show promised submitters an opportunity to show their silly home movies on national television and a chance at a cash prize. Bob Saget, the star of the family sitcom "Full House," served as the show's host until 1997. After Saget left, a series of guest hosts substituted until Tom Bergeron stepped in in 2001.
In May 2010 ABC announced that the show would return for its 21st season. It is the network's second longest running program.
Di Bona was born in Cranston, R.I., on April 8, 1944. He grew up singing in the cocktail lounge of his father's restaurant.
He later attended Emerson College and then received an MFA at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. His first job came as a stage manager at WBZ-TV Boston, where he quickly became a producer.
Before "Videos," Di Bona worked as a producer for "Entertainment Tonight," and "MacGyver."
In January 2010 Di Bona started Fishbowl Worldwide Media, a company that plans to develop projects for film and television as well as new-media platforms.