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ABC

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 with Diane Sawyer,” “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.

Dana Bash: I Tried to Get Eric Cantor ‘Off His Talking Points’

Bash CantorFollowing her “State of the Union” interview with recently defeated Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor yesterday, CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash acknowledged her game plan.

“I tried to get him off his talking points. I don’t know how successful I was,” Bash told chief political analyst Gloria Borger (the two filled in for Candy Crowley).

One of Bash’s attempts: “You’re a pol [politician], you’re such a pol,” she said, trying to get more out of Cantor as he suggested it wasn’t worthwhile to evaluate the results of his race against Dave Brat.

Cantor also appeared on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” speaking with ABC’s Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. “Absolutely, I don’t think anyone in the country thought that the outcome would be what it was,” Cantor said, acknowledging his shock at the results.

WATCH:

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‘Primetime LIVE!’ 25 Years Later

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There was a big reunion last night to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ABC’s “Primetime Live.”

About 100 former correspondents, editors, researchers, PAs, APs, and photographers celebrated at the home of author Holly Peterson, who was a researcher on the show. Diane Sawyer was in attendance. Her co-anchor Sam Donaldson sent his regards from Albuquerque, where he now lives.

ABC News president Roone Arledge created the show in 1989. He wooed Sawyer away from “60 Minutes” to be the co-anchor for the new live primetime newsmagazine. Donaldson was fresh from covering the White House for ABC News. The first episode included live studio audience. As Donaldson put it, the audience participation “was not [like] Oprah or Donahue… They are terrific shows, but that’s not us.” Fox News’ Chris Wallace and the late Judd Rose were correspondents.

Early staffers in attendance last night included Disney ABC TV Group president Ben Sherwood, who was an associate producer on the show; correspondent Jay Schadler; producers Betsy West, now with the Columbia Journalism School, Neal Shapiro, now with WNET, Mark Lukasiewicz, now with NBC, David Doss, now with Al Jazeera America; also Ira Rosen and Rick Kaplan, plus Jeanmarie Condon and Marc Burstein, who now have executive roles at ABC News.

Insiders tell us Sawyer delivered a toast to the team, for their passion and hard work, while Burstein read a note from Donaldson sending regrets and sharing how proud he was of the work he did at “Primetime (as he used to say) LIVE!”

Katie Couric Tapes Final Edition of ‘Katie’

katie couric_304x200Katie Couric taped the final edition of her syndicated talk show “Katie” today. The final new shows will air in the coming weeks, followed by repeats through the summer.

“Katie” debuted in September, 2012, and wraps as Couric takes on a new role as Yahoo! News Global Anchor. (Programming note: Couric interviews Secy. of State John Kerry live on Yahoo! Monday morning ahead of the launch of his Our Ocean conference.)

We’re also hearing from insiders that Couric dropped by her old stomping grounds last week. Following a Q&A on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Couric stopped by the “Today” show offices, where she was spotted speaking with former colleagues. Couric worked at “Today” for 17 years, before departing for CBS in 2006.

With Savannah Guthrie set to go on maternity leave this summer, “Today’s” co-host seat will be available. Last month, when asked about the possibility of a temporary Lauer/Couric reunion during Guthrie’s absence, NBC News President Deborah Turness suggested a fill-in plan featuring “homegrown talent with perhaps a few surprises mixed in.”

Mary Noonan Joins ABC News

NOONANMary Noonan has joined ABC News as VP of Talent and Development, reporting to SVP Barbara Fedida. Noonan joins from CNBC where she produced documentaries, helping the long form unit win a Murrow award in 2012. Noonan joined CNBC in 2011 from CBS News where she’d spent 23 years in a variety of roles. Noonan started out in 1988 as an assistant at newsmagazine “West 57th,” then moved on to “60 Minutes” and later “48 Hours” before being named Director of Talent Development for CBS News.

Barbara Walters’ 4 Tips to a Fulfilling Life

WaltersFredFriendlyEarlier today Barbara Walters was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award committee at Quinnipiac University.

At the close of her acceptance speech she talked about the “qualities of leadership,” calling them the “qualities you have to have to have a fulfilling life.”

 

1) There has to be something you have to do, most important something you want to do.
2) You have to have someone to love, and to love you, not necessarily a family. Sometimes it’s just friends. I don’t have a big family. I have one child. I would be lost without my friends.
3) You have to have spirituality of some sort. I don’t mean that it has to be religion. It can be ethics. It can be a philosophy.
4) You have to have strength of purpose in mind.

Read on for video of Walters’ speech at today’s event, with the life lessons at the end…

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When Barbara Walters Misses ‘The View,’ She Thinks of Margaret Thatcher

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Barbara Walters admits, “I still have the feeling sometimes when I’m watching ‘The View,’ ‘I should be there! I should be participating…’ and then I think of Margaret Thatcher.”

Walters, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Quinnipiac University Fred Friendly committee, reflected on a 1997 interview with Britain’s longest-serving prime minister, seven years after she resigned from office. Thatcher described her frantic, frenetic days, until one day she realized, “it’s no longer me anymore.”

“That’s the feeling I got this morning when I watched ‘The View,’” Walters joked.

Walters, who stepped aside from hosting the daytime show last month, remains an executive producer. She still has her office at ABC News headquarters, which now bears her name. And her resignation — she used air quotes around the word today — has already been interrupted. As we first told you yesterday, she’ll fly to California in the coming weeks to interview Peter Rodger, the father of Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger.

Among those celebrating along with Walters: ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir, ABC News president James Goldston, and executives Barbara Fedida, Susan Mercandetti and Jeffrey Schneider. From CBS, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and Troy Roberts, from FNC, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Hemmer and former anchor Alisyn Camerota and from CNN Christine Romans and Richard Roth.

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Diane Sawyer’s Clinton Interview Draws 6 Million Viewers

clinton sawyerAccording to preliminary Nielsen data, Diane Sawyer‘s interview with Hillary Clinton averaged 6.079 million viewers in the 9pmET hour last night. Sawyer had the first interview with Clinton as the former Secretary of State begins her press tour for “Hard Choices,” out today.

The special was second in total viewers, behind Fox’s “24: Live Another Day.” In the A25-54 demographic, the Clinton interview had a 1.5 rating / 4 share, placing fourth behind Fox, NBC and CBS.

The hour-long interview built on its lead-in, “The Bachelorette,” by +53% in total viewers. The special also grew from 5.7 million viewers in the first half-hour to 6.4 million in the second half-hour, an increase of +12%. Compared to the same night last year, the Clinton special improved the time period by +7% in total viewers.

Final numbers will be released after 4pmET.

Barbara Walters to Interview Peter Rodger, Father of Killer Elliot Rodger

Walters specialBarbara Walters was on her first post-retirement trip last week when she got a call from ABC News HQ. ABC brass wanted to know if Walters, traveling in Berlin with Cindy Adams (who wrote about their journey this morning), would be available to interview Peter Rodger, the father Elliot Rodger who killed 6 people and himself in Isla Vista, California last month. Rodger, a Hollywood director, requested Walters for the interview.

Given the issues around mental health and this story, Walters agreed to conduct the sought-after interview. When she retired last month, ABC said Walters would be available for special projects. The interview will happen in California in the coming weeks and air as a special edition of “20/20.”

Tomorrow, Walters will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Quinnipiac University’s annual Fred Friendly First Amendment Award luncheon.

California Chrome Owner: ‘I Need to Apologize to the World and America’

Steve Coburn, the co-owner of California Chrome went on “Good Morning America” to apologize for his comments following California Chrome’s loss at the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown Saturday. Moments after the race, Coburn told NBC Sports: “This is the coward’s way out.” Coburn was referring to Belmont winner Tonalist who didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. In fact, none of the top three Belmont finishers raced in the first two Triple Crown contests.

“I need to apologize to the world and America,” Coburn told Robin Roberts this morning. “I wanted it so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America and I was very emotional, very emotional.”

“I sincerely apologize,” he said. WATCH:

Ginger Zee and Ben Aaron Tie the Knot

“Good Morning America” meteorologist Ginger Zee and WNBC reporter Ben Aaron were married over the weekend at the Inn at Bay Harbor in Zee’s native Michigan. The 55 guests dined on a Michigan salad with local cherries, veggie quinoa, parmesan-crusted chicken, grilled salmon and filet mignon. “I am so proud to be from Michigan and I have countless memories of growing up along this gorgeous lake,’” Zee tells People. “I wanted to have one of the most important moments of my life here and make another one of those memories.”

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(Photo: Michael Murphy IV Photography)

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