He later became president of Paramount Video and, in 1985, was named president of Paramount Television Group.
In 1985, The New York Times reported that movie industry analysts credited Mr. Harris's aggressive low-pricing strategies for making Paramount an industry leader in cassette sales.
A year later, he was named to the Video Hall of Fame.
As president of the television group, he oversaw some of the top shows of the time and greenlighted the syndicated "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
After leaving Paramount in 1991, Mr. Harris served as president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Television Group until 1995.
During his tenure, the company launched the Game Show Network, entered talk-show programming with Ricki Lake, and became a leader in global electronic distribution.
After working as a cable TV consultant, he returned to Sony Pictures Entertainment in 1999 as co-president and chief operating officer, with responsibilities over worldwide television. Mr. Harris retired to Malibu in 2002.
Born in Arkansas City, Kan., Mr. Harris grew up on a wheat farm. While majoring in mass communications at Kansas State University, he worked as a morning radio disc jockey.
After graduating in 1964, Mr. Harris earned a master's degree in mass communications from Ohio University in 1965. While serving as a first lieutenant commanding a combat photography unit in the Army Signal Corps in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, he received a Bronze Star Medal.
In 1971, he received a doctorate in mass communications from Ohio University. His dissertation was called "Television Consumption Behavior: Channel Use in Relation to Channel Availability."