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Four years before his death, 69-year-old Louis Rukeyser found a nasty network surprise. Maryland Public Television tried to oust the commentator from the position he'd held 32 years. (AOL Time-Warner had offered them more money to re-brand the show as product placement for Fortune magazine.)

Not missing a beat, the shrewd, unflappable host used his weekly monologue (mp3) to urge viewers to follow him to a different network. "It turns out that the woods are full of smart television executives," he chuckled.

His debut on CNBC drew the largest audience in CNBC history. Within four weeks, 61% of PBS stations across America had chosen to re-broadcast it. The old PBS show (without Rukeyser) lost half its audience almost immediately.

When asked if there was room on TV for both shows, the Wall Street commentator joked:

"I'll let the market decide."