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ABC News is the news gathering and program production division of the ABC TV network, a subsidiary of the Disney/ABC TV Group. ABC News programs include “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “Nightline,” “20/20,” and “This Week.” James Goldston is the president of ABC News. He succeeded Ben Sherwood who was elevated to the position of co-president of the Disney/ABC TV Group in March 2014.

In Exclusive Interview, Stephen Collins Tells Katie Couric He’s Not a Pedophile


“7th Heaven” actor Stephen Collins denies being a pedophile in an interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric–portions of which will appear on ABC’s “20/20″ Friday. “A pedophile is someone who is mainly or wholly attracted to children. I’m not,” Collins said. He goes on to suggest that “a distortion” in his thinking led him to act out. “But I’m absolutely not attracted, physically or sexually attracted to children. I’m just not.”

It’s the first time the actor has spoken publicly about accusations he sexually assaulted three girls in incidents that date back to the 1970′s, but were first reported in October.

Watch the clip, released this morning, after the jump:
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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Changes at ‘Nightline’ as Dan Abrams Exits, Byron Pitts Steps In

BYRON PITTSABC has announced that “Nightline” anchor Dan Abrams will be stepping down from that role to be chief legal analyst at ABC News, and to return his attention to his company, Abrams Media. “Dan has decided to step back from his full-time role as Nightline anchor after tonight, but I’m very happy to report that he will bring us his brilliant insights as chief legal analyst for ABC News for years to come,” said ABC News president James Goldston in an email to the news division Thursday morning.

Goldston also announced ABC chief national correspondent Byron Pitts will join “Nightline” as co-anchor. “Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear,” said Goldston.

Read the full memo, after the jump: Read more

Megyn Kelly on White House Christmas Party: ‘Boy oh Boy Did I See a Lot of MSNBC Anchors’

Two primetime Fox Newsers turned up in late night last night.

In a coincidental booking, Megyn Kelly was on Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, while Bill O’Reilly dropped by “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on NBC. Both Kelly and O’Reilly were first time guests on Kimmel and Meyers, respectively.

Over on CBS, NBC’s Tom Brokaw paid a visit to “Late Show with David Letterman.”

With Meyers, O’Reilly talked politics, specifically Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and O’Reilly declared victory in the war on Christmas. With Letterman, Brokaw talked about his Presidential Medal of Freedom honor, his new NBC Sports Network show and his health: “Things are going along as well as they possibly could be. And I’m at a stage now where I really worry about other cancer patients because I’m on a good track.”

With Kimmel, Kelly talked about her experience at the White House Christmas party Tuesday night. “Is there a separate section for Fox News,” Kimmel joked. “You mean somewhere other than outside in the rain?,” Kelly said, adding, “Boy or boy, did I see a lot of MSNBC anchors. I think they got a few more invitations than we got.” WATCH: Read more

How ABC’s Jim Avila Broke the News of the Release of Alan Gross

AvilaJimMore than 20 trips in nearly 20 years of covering Cuba paid off for ABC’s Jim Avila this morning when he broke the news that American contractor Alan Gross would be released from a Cuban prison.

But it didn’t stop there. Gross’s freedom, in exchange for the release of the remaining so-called “Cuban Five” was the key to re-starting diplomatic relations with the island nation just 90 miles from Key West.

“I was told early on that this was not just going to be a prisoner exchange,” Avila told TVNewser from Havana, where he’d just arrived.

“We had information that Gross would be released this week, for about a month,” Avila says. “We held it back at the request of both the White House and the attorney representing Alan Gross for fear that it would cost him his life. That’s why were were able to break it first.”

Avila, a White House correspondent for ABC News, has been closely following Gross’s case. He’s made two trips to Havana in an effort to speak to him. Those requests were denied, but Avila saw something big on the horizon. Read more

CNN Looking to air ‘Political Jeopardy!’ … and Other News From Hacked Sony Emails

FrancoRogenRacially-charged emails regarding Barack Obama, criticism of mega-stars, including Angelina Jolie and Adam Sandler, and private financial documents have already been revealed as a result of the Sony Pictures hack. Now the drama is impacting the news media… and we’re not just talking about CNN possibly getting into game shows.

Academy and Emmy-award winning writer Aaron Sorkin went on the “Today” show this morning to discuss his New York Times op-ed criticizing the media for reporting on the leaks.

It’s ironic, because Sorkin’s op-ed will get anyone up-to-speed on all the leaked data, even if they’ve been living under a rock since the story broke. Now Gawker has taken it a step further, leaking the scene from “The Interview,” in which Kim Jong-un is assassinated. Gawker’s Heather Dietrick, says the less than :30 clip is “squarely protected by the First Amendment.”

Over on “Good Morning America” this morning Seth Rogen and James Franco talked about the controversial film. Both star in “The Interview.” Rogen is also co-director and has a story credit. They say the movie satirizes American culture and the news media just as much as it does North Korea’s leadership. Read more

Barbara Walters Brings in 7.7 Million for 2014 Most Fascinating People Special

WaltersClooneyBarbara Walters returned for another “Most Fascinating” special last night, averaging 7.7 million viewers. Walters, who retired earlier this year from day-to-day work at ABC News, increased the timeslot for ABC by 57% in Total Viewers over original dramas that aired on the same night last year.

The second hour of the 2-hour special finished second in the timeslot, behind NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” The 2014 edition was watched by 1.1 million fewer viewers than last year’s special which aired on a Wednesday night, and was billed as Walters’ final “Most Fascinating” special.

Walters named Amal Clooney as the Most Fascinating person of 2014. Walters didn’t get an interview with Mrs. George Clooney, but she aired several of her past interviews with Mr. George Clooney, including the 1995 chat where he said he would never marry again. “I know I’m never going to get married again because i wasn’t very good at it,” Clooney told Walters.

So, will Barbara be back next year?

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The ABC Ticker: Zaki, Riley, ’20/20′

  • Zunaira Zaki has been promoted to Managing Editor of the ABC News Specialized Units. Zunaira, who has been with ABC 11 years, will oversee the the Business, Medial and Law & Justice units.

  • Heather Riley has been promoted to Vice President of Communications for ABC News. Riley joined ABC in 2011 following stints at the White House, MSNBC and Nat Geo.

  • Friday’s “20/20″ won its timeslot in the A18-49 demo with a 1.4 rating / 5 share. The ABC Newsmagazine trailed “Shark Tank” as the night’s No. 2 show in that demo.

Creepy Overnight TV News Stringer Jake Gyllenhaal Talks Golden Globe Nom

Jake Gyllenhaal called into ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday to talk about his Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of a morally-challenged, seriously creepy TV news stringer in “Nightcrawler.”

Gyllenhaal, who was also nominated for a The Screen Actors Guild award for the performance, is up for Best Actor in a Motion Picture. The 2015 Golden Globes will air four weeks from tonight on NBC, once again be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

ABC News ‘Has Lost Its Way As a Hard News Organization’

LOGO_Nightline_2013_1280A former local radio and television news director and producer has posted a blistering analysis of ABC News, arguing ABC “has lost its way as a hard news organization.” Frank Gottlieb wrote on Facebook “gravitas is what Ted Koppel brought to ‘Nightline’. With Roone Arledge at the helm and Peter Jennings anchoring, ABC became a well regarded news organization. They have become Disneyfied to the public detriment.”

Gottlieb said he was disgusted by Tuesday’s “Nightline’, which aired hours after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture–which dominated network newscasts. “There was not a word about the report on the broadcast. It would have been the only story during the Ted Koppel era.”

Read the entire post after the jump:
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‘CBS Evening News’ Gives Torture Report 11 Minutes as CIA Story Dominates Newscasts

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.46.46 PMThe release of a sweeping report from the Senate Intelligence Committee into the CIA’s actions after 9/11–immediately dubbed the “torture report”–dominated Tuesday evening’s network newscasts, with the “CBS Evening News” devoting more than 11 minutes to the story.

CBS’ coverage included packages from Nancy Cordes and Bob Orr, and an extended clip of a 2007 “60 Minutes” interview Scott Pelley did with ex-CIA director George Tenet, where he firmly denied–repeatedly–that the U.S. engaged in torture.

“NBC Nightly News” spent seven and a half minutes on the story, beginning with Andrea Mitchell. ABC’s “World News Tonight” led with just over six minutes on torture, including packages from Martha Raddatz and Jonathan Karl.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.02.38 PMOverseas, the U.K.’s Channel 4 (left) had extensive coverage on the torture report–more than fifteen minutes–including a live report from Washington, and a story on what role, if any, Britain played in the CIA’s torture of detainees.

Al Jazeera America, by comparison, gave the story twelve minutes of coverage in the network’s flagship U.S. newscast, “America Tonight.”