Abby Singer was a production manager and producer who received five Primetime Emmy nominations and whose name entered show-business vernacular with the so-called "Abby Singer shot," which refers to the second-to-last shot of the day on a production.
After serving in World War II, the New York City native got his start in show business in 1949, when he was hired as an assistant to Jack Fier, a top executive at Columbia Pictures. In 1957 he moved to Universal Studios and began working in television. In the years that followed he was a production manager or producer on dozens of series, including The Virginian, The Doris Day Show, It Takes a Thief and Gunsmoke.
In the ’70s he joined MTM, the production company established by Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker, and was a key figure on such MTM series as Rhoda, Phyllis, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP In Cincinnati, Remington Steele, The White Shadow, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere.
He earned his Emmy noms from 1984 to 1988 as a coordinating producer on St. Elsewhere.Singer was a dedicated member of the Directors Guild of America and served the guild in many roles, including three terms on its National Board. In 1985, the guild honored him with its Frank Capra Achievement Award, given to assistant directors and unit production managers in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the guild. On his passing, DGA president Paris Barclay released a statement in tribute to Singer that referenced the etymology of the term that bears his name: “From his first job as the assistant to the head of production at Columbia in 1949 to his final film as Unit Production Manager for Family Plan in 1997, Abby Singer was renowned for working consistently, enthusiastically and most importantly — efficiently. It was this efficiency that led to the coining of a phrase known throughout the entertainment industry and around the world as the ‘Abby Singer shot’ — the next-to-last shot of the day." In a 2012 interview with the Television Academy's Archive of American Television, Singer explained that he was known for saying words to the effect of, "We've got this shot and one more and we're moving over to the next stage" or "this and one more and we're going home." Singer died March 13, 2014, in Woodland Hills, California. He was 96.