Koppel had six months left on his contract, but sources said he’s better off if he’s disentangled from any network or cable contract.
Koppel had not made any formal statement about the Russert slot, but TV sources said it’s a well-known desire for the former host of “Nightline” for 25 years. Koppel signed a three-year deal with Discovery right after he left “Nightline.”
A number of internal NBC candidates are up for the job as well.
Variety reported that The Koppel Group had produced 15 hours of documentary programming for Discovery under the “Koppel on Discovery” label. This year’s projects included the four-part China profile “The People’s Republic of Capitalism” and October’s “The Last Lynching.”
The parting of ways was described as “amicable,” but Koppel in a statement made no bones about the reason for the split.
“Producing our kind of news-related programs is an expensive proposition,” Koppel said. “It has long been clear that neither of us is interested in an extension of the current contract. Discovery and I worked on terminating the contract a few months early under terms that both sides found acceptable.”