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MacNeil and Lehrer Share Their Story of Nov. 22, 1963

MacNeilLehrer1963
Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer returned to their former program last night to reflect on Nov. 22, 1963 — the day President Kennedy was killed. Both men covered the president’s visit — MacNeil for NBC News and Lehrer for The Dallas Times Herald. They talked about the morning leading up to the assassination, the days following, the conspiracy theories that persist 50 years later and how the tragedy shaped their careers as reporters.

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CNBC’s Courtney Reagan Gets On-Air Marriage Proposal

CNBC’s retail correspondent Courtney Reagan was doing a segment on holiday shopping for the CNBC-produced “Nightly Business Report.” At least that what she thought.

The show’s anchor, Tyler Mathisen was in place, as was the camera and production crew, so they started recording.

But it was all a ruse. What Courtney didn’t know is that her boyfriend, investment researcher Jared Baker was waiting in the wings, with a diamond ring. She looked stunned. He told her he’s loved her since the day they met. She cried. He got on one knee. She cried some more. Mathisen grabbed the tissues. And the rest is TV history.

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Ray Suarez Joins Al Jazeera America

RSuarezFormer PBS correspondent Ray Suarez is set to join Al Jazeera America. Beginning November 11, he will be the host of “Inside Story.”

“Ray has repeatedly proven that he can deliver compelling coverage of the most challenging news stories and events with objectivity and depth, punctuated by Ray’s own brand of thoughtful analysis,” Al Jazeera America president Kate O’Brian said in a statement.

Suarez resigned last month after more than 10 years as the senior correspondent for “NewsHour.” After he signed off, he told Fox News Latino, “I felt like I didn’t have much of a future with the broadcast. (They) didn’t have much of a plan for me.”

“This is an exciting time to be joining Al Jazeera America and a great opportunity for me personally,” Suarez said. “This is exactly what I wanted to do: host a program that provides viewers with a close look at the day’s news and the issues they care about the most without the partisan rancor that you often see and hear elsewhere on television.”

More from Al Jazeera after the jump. Read more

Why Ray Suarez Left ‘PBS Newshour’

RSuarezRay Suarez bid farewell to PBS’s “Newshour” last Friday. Suarez, who has been the show’s senior correspondent for more than 10 years, tells FoxNewsLatino why he left the show: “I felt like I didn’t have much of a future with the broadcast. (They) didn’t have much of a plan for me.”

The 56-year-old, who joined the “NewsHour” in 1999, said over the last couple of years his contributions to the broadcast were passed over and marginalized many times. He said decisions made recently by the company and new constrictions also played a part in his resignation — it just made it difficult to stay, he said.

“When you look at the prospects realistically, I was there 14 years,” Suarez said. “The responsibility, the high responsibility … had all been gradually taken away.”

The program continues to be in transition. Earlier this month the show’s production company, MacNeil-Leher Productions, decided to part ways with the program. Last month “Newshour” launched a weekend edition of the program, anchored by Hari Sreenivasan. In August, Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill were named co-anchors of the weekday program. And in June, the show laid off staff and closed down its domestic bureaus, citing a slowdown in corporate revenue and changing technologies.

“I love the people there,” Suarez tells FoxNews. “I think it’s important to have a strong news broadcast on public television. I was definitely doing important work. I am not sitting here regretting all that time, not at all.”

Colbert to ‘NewsHour’ Anchors: ‘Do We Need an Hour of News Every Night?’

The first all-female co-anchor team in broadcast news, “PBS NewsHour” anchors  Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, were guests on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” this week. “The PBS ‘NewsHour’ is an hour. Do we need an hour of news every night? I mean, the guys over on the networks — and the girls, and Diane Sawyer — are doing it in half an hour every night plus commercials, and boom, we’re watching ‘Jeopardy,’” Stephen Colbert joked. Watch:

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MacNeil-Lehrer Productions To Give Up Ownership of The ‘PBS NewsHour’

newshoursmallThe “PBS NewsHour” will likely be getting new owners in the coming weeks. The public-TV stalwart, which has had some troubling months, even as it expanded to the weekend, is in talks with Washington DC public TV station WETA about assuming control of the program, the New York Times reports.

The last six months have been extremely important for the program. In June, it laid off staff and closed down its domestic bureaus, citing a slowdown in corporate revenue and changing technologies. In August, it named Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill co-anchors of the program, the first time two women have helmed a network evening newscast. Last month it launched a weekend edition of the program, anchored by Hari Sreenivasan, and produced by New York public TV station WNET.

The “NewsHour” was founded as “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report” by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, whose names adorn the production company that produces the program. Lehrer was involved in the program into this year, even as he officially retired in 2011.

Charlie Rose Interviews Bashar al-Assad

“CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose got an interview today with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is Assad’s first TV interview since President Obama asked Congress to approve the use of force against the Syrian regime for use of chemical weapons. Rose, now in Beirut, called in to “Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer

“He denied that he had anything to do with the attack. He denied thad he knew, in fact, that there was a chemical attack, notwithstanding what has been said, and notwithstanding the videotape. He said there’s not evidence to make a conclusive judgment. He would not say, even though I read him the lead paragraph of the New York Times today, in a story about their chemical weapons supply. He said ‘I can’t confirm or deny we have chemical weapons.’ He did say, if we do in fact have them, and ‘I’m not saying yes or no.’ they’re in centralized control, so no one else has access to them.”

When Rose asked him if he expected an attack, he responded, “I don’t know.”

The interview will air tomorrow on “CBS This Morning” and on Rose’s PBS show tomorrow night.

PBS ‘NewsHour Weekend’ Readies For Launch

This weekend, the “PBS NewsHour” expands to weekends (and to New York City), with the debut of “PBS Newshour Weekend.” Anchored by Hari Sreenivasan, the weekend edition of the iconic evening news program will be shortened to half an hour (yes, a half-hour “NewsHour”), and will be produced by New York City PBS station WNET.

“It is an expression of continuity and change. One of the discussions I had with ["NewsHour" EP Linda Winslow] early on was about that. Are we looking for continuity or change?,” the weekend program’s executive producer Marc Rosenwasser says, sitting in a conference room at the WNET offices in midtown Manhattan. ”The answer we came up with was both.”

“The line we have to walk is between upholding the very rich traditions of the ‘NewsHour,’ which we respect tremendously and the nation respects tremendously as this great, valuable brand that has an almost unique place contextualizing and analyzing the news,” he added. “At the same time, moving forward as many weekend shows at all the networks work, as kind of a laboratory too.”

For the new team in New York and the “NewsHour” team in DC, the challenge is keeping the spirit of the weekday program, while simultaneously expanding its boundaries.

“It is still pretty rare to have 40-year long brands that have lasted,” Sreenivasan says. “Sure, we could use a few million more dollars, but we have somehow managed to survive in the marketplace, even with all the commercial competition, even with the current landscape.”

That isn’t to say there haven’t been hiccups along the way.

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ESPN Ombudsman: Trailer For ‘Frontline’ Doc A Catalyst For Channel Dropping Out

The bombshell news late last week that ESPN would be pulling out of a PBS “Frontline” documentary on concussions in the NFL continues. The latest comes from ESPN’s ombudsman, Robert Lipsyte, as well as Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch, who each shed new light on the situation.

Lipsyte talks to ESPN president John Skipper, who says it was a trailer for the doc that was the catalyst for the decision to drop out of the project (watch the trailer below).

He hadn’t seen the trailer or approved its content, which included the ESPN logo and a collaboration credit. He thought it was “odd for me not to get a heads up,” and said it made him “quite unhappy” to discover that ESPN had no editorial control over the trailer.

Upon screening it, Skipper said he found the trailer to be “sensational.” He particularly objected to the tagline — “Get ready to change the way you see the game” — and to the final sound bite in the piece, from neuropathologist Ann McKee. Referring to brain injuries, she says, “I’m really wondering if every single football player doesn’t have this.”

Skipper said he found that comment to be “over the top.”

Lipsyte also reports that Skipper talked to Disney CEO Bob Iger and lawyers at both companies before pulling out of the project.

In SI, Deitsch looks at what comes next for the book League of Denial, which the “Frontline” doc is based on, and which was written by two brothers… who are ESPN investigative reporters.
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ESPN Backs Out Of PBS ‘Frontline’ Documentary On NFL Concussions

It was one of the biggest sports media stories of 2012. ESPN, the “Worldwide Leader” in sports, would be partnering with the PBS investigative series “Frontline” on a series of reports on concussions in the NFL, culminating with a film this October.

The partnership resulted in a number of long-form articles about the NFL’s response to concussions, as well as a number of reports on “Outside the Lines,” ESPN’s acclaimed newsmagazine.

Now, the partnership is seemingly dead in the water, as ESPN has pulled its support from the project, just a few months before the feature documentary “League of Denial” debuts on PBS. “Frontline” will move forward with the project on its own.

On the “Frontline” blog, the producers explain:

We don’t normally comment on investigative projects in progress, but we regret ESPN’s decision to end a collaboration that has spanned the last 15 months and is based on the work of ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, as well as FRONTLINE’s own original journalism…

The film is still being edited and has not been seen by ESPN news executives, although we were on schedule to share it with them for their editorial input. The two-hour documentary and accompanying digital reporting will honor FRONTLINE’s rigorous standards of fairness, accuracy, transparency and depth.

ESPN, in a statement, says that the fact that it did not have editorial control was the reason for backing out. It does not explain why the channel waited until now to do so.
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