Bernie Hoffman studied television production at NYU before starting at ABC in New York in the mailroom. In his early years at the network he gradually worked his way up to stage manager on musical/variety shows and dramatic series. As more of those types of shows moved from New York to Los Angeles, Hoffman transitioned into sports broadcasting, working on Roone Arledge’s ABC’S Wide World of Sports and the college football-centered Scoreboard Show. Here he became an associate director and traveled the country filming everything from football to daredevil auto stunts. In addition to his post at Wide World, he also directed segments of the Olympic games, beginning in 1968 in Mexico, as well as the infamous and tragic 1972 Munich Games, of which he directed a reenactment retrospective special the following year.
In 1976 Hoffman left ABC to become director/executive producer of CBS Sports Spectacular. He left CBS after only a few years to join NBC to direct the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Despite traveling to Russia several times with his crew to prepare for the broadcast, the United States government boycotted the games which ended Hoffman and NBC’s involvement. While at NBC, in addition to subsequent Olympic broadcasts, Hoffman directed Sports World where he covered such events as racing and gymnastics. He returned to ABC in the late 1980s to direct and launch Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer and Sam Donaldson. While at ABC, Hoffman also directed several specials covering the Bosnian War, interviews with Michael Jackson, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.