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Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Brown’

TV News ‘Brooding About Katrina’

The NYTimes’ Alessandra Stanley has been watching some of the coverage, so far, of the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

But the puffery on most anniversary specials is mild, perhaps because there is something humbling about Katrina that abashes even the most egotistical personalities. Anderson Cooper of CNN was one of the standouts of Katrina, whipped by lashing winds when the storm broke and lashing out at federal incompetence after it subsided. Soon after his return, CNN ousted its longtime prime-time anchor, Aaron Brown, in favor of the dashing Mr. Cooper.

Brian Williams, who stayed in the Superdome throughout the storm, has kept a proprietary hold on Katrina. He hosted a “Dateline” special on NBC this week that repurposed a post-Katrina special he made shortly after the hurricane hit, a personal account entitled, “In his Own Words.” (It was repeated on MSNBC on Friday night.) And Mr. Williams, not surprisingly, began delivering the evening news from New Orleans on Thursday, before any of his competitors had showed up.

CNN’s Reinvention: ‘I just hope they don’t go for some young, hip, king of snark’

Spitzer_7.3.jpgWhy did CNN hire disgraced ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and conservative columnist Kathleen Parker for its new 8 p.m. show?

“Apparently Madoff wasn’t available,” deadpans CNN exile Aaron Brown (Class of ’05), king of the caustic soundbite.

Brown, the Walter Cronkite Professor of Journalism at Arizona State, labels CNN’s return to opinion-driven programming at 8 p.m. as “a ratings play, pure and simple… I don’t really believe [it] will accomplish a thing but that is just me.”

Depending on how CNN fills the 9 p.m. slot — now in play following Larry King‘s announcement last week that he’s stepping down — the struggling network can “redefine its concept,” according to Brown. “They have to be less boring and more compelling.”

Like Brown, many believe CNN must reinvent itself in prime time in order to staunch hemorrhaging ratings. Some, like Syracuse University pop culture expert Bob Thompson, say the network “has already cried ‘uncle’” on its down-the-middle mission.

At 9 p.m., there are two obvious options — hire a younger, hipper, glitzier host or ditch the somnolent chat format in favor of a faster-paced, multi-guest/topic show.

“Long-form interview shows like King’s for a general audience are an anachronism,” says network-news analyst Andrew Tyndall. “The interview shows that work now have a more narrow subject matter – usually politics or a political slant.”

True enough, unless CNN can wrangle CBS’s Katie Couric, who’s keeping her options open.

Bodog Online Sportsbook currently lists her as the 2-1 co-favorite (with Piers Morgan). Face it, if she wants it, it’s hers. Couric would kill at 9 p.m. Game over.

Tapper_7.3.jpgTyndall’s dark horse is ABC White House ace Jake Tapper, passed over for “This Week” by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Quick reality check: Tapper’s contract isn’t up until 2012.

Tapper “was shafted by ABC,” says Tyndall. “It would be good musical chairs – he goes to CNN, Amanapour goes to ABC. CNN wins in that trade.

“Of all the mainstream TV journalists at the moment, Tapper is most in tune with how to combine old-fashioned journalism with new media social networking and online reporting.”

Marc Berman, senior TV analyst for Media Week, argues that CNN should keep King’s format intact, “no if’s, and’s or but’s.” Tinkering with such an entrenched foundation would alienate core, older viewers. (See Couric, Katie.)

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Jeremy Hubbard Leaving ‘World News Now;’ Rob Nelson to Join


First on TVNewser: “World News Now,” ABC’s middle-of-the-night news program, is about to see another change at the anchor desk. TVNewser has learned that Jeremy Hubbard, who joined the broadcast in 2008, is departing “World News Now” for a promotion to digital correspondent for ABC News. (Welcome back to daylight, Jeremy)

ABC News is hiring Rob Nelson, morning news anchor at CBS-affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans, to co-anchor the program with Vinita Nair. No word yet on his official start date.

“World News Now” has been something of a revolving door for young, promising talent. Since the show’s launch in 1992, the newscast’s seen Anderson Cooper, Juju Chang, Alison Stewart, Aaron Brown, Kevin Newman, David Muir, and others pass through the anchor chair.

Righting What’s Wrong at CNN

cnn_3-31.jpgWith the bleak Q1 2010 numbers put up by CNN, soon-to-not-be Politico’s Michael Calderone takes the pulse of nearly a dozen TV news anchors, analysts, professors and executives about what is going on CNN, and what can — or should — be done to right the ratings of “The most trusted name in news.”

Aaron Brown, who was replaced in 2005 by [Anderson] Cooper at 10 p.m., said that CNN doesn’t have the “big, broad personalities” that seem to excel these days in the evenings on cable news. Brown included himself in that group, along with Campbell Brown, John King, and Cooper.

“If I were at CNN, the thing that would scare me is not that we’re losing, but that it’s that re-runs are beating us,” Brown said. “At 10 p.m., a two-hour-old ‘Countdown’ is beating my guy, the guy I have invested millions in promotional dollars.”

Another former cable news host, Phil Donahue, who had a show on MSNBC in the early 2000′s hopes CNN does nothing. “At this moment, their competition is more entertaining than they are,” Donahue told Calderone. “And I admire them for holding on and not being seduced by that kind of arm-waving.”

ABC Newser Returns with ‘Dracula is Dead’

Kast_11.10.jpgTuesday morning on World News now, a former ABC Newser returns to discuss her new book. Sheilah Kast was an ABC correspondent for 15 years and a regular fill-in on World News Now back in the days when Aaron Brown and Kevin Newman anchored.

Kast and her husband Jim Rosapepe, the former Ambassador to Romania, have written a new book, “Dracula Is Dead,” about Romania after the fall of communism in 1989.

Gathering for the Funeral of Walter Cronkite


Les Moonves, Katie Couric and Sean McManus at St. Bartholomew church for the funeral for Walter Cronkite.

We’re keeping our eye on and the funeral service for Walter Cronkite which will begin at 2pmET. Already at St. Bartholomew in Midtown Manhattan we’ve spotted Bill Plante, Bob Schieffer, Aaron Brown, Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith; Steve Kroft chatting with Linda Mason, who was the first female producer on the Evening News and is now an SVP at CBS News. One pew in front of Mason is Katie Couric who is seated between CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus and CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves.

ABC News president David Westin arrived around 1:20pm and is sitting with Diane Sawyer.

Also, Connie Chung, actors Jerry Stiller and his wife Anne Meara. Brian Williams arrived on the church steps at 1:25 followed by Barbara Walters and Charlie Gibson arriving arm-in-arm at 1:27pm and Tom Brokaw and wife Meredith at 1:35pm. A few minutes later Andy Rooney arrived with his son, ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney. NBC News president Steve Capus, Dan Rather, Don Hewitt, former 60 Minutes correspondent-turned-NBC anchor Meredith Vieira also spotted.

Again, you can watch coverage of the service on


Brian Rooney and his father Andy Rooney arrive at St. Bartholomew Church

> 2:20pm: From Andy Rooney’s eulogy: “Walter was such a good friend. I can’t get over it… I just feel so terrible about Walter’s death I can hardly say anything. Please excuse me. Thank you.”

The cable news networks are dipping in to the funeral while NY1 in New York City is carrying the funeral live.

Click continued to see a list of some of the other tvnewsers in attendance, and more pictures from after service..

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How Twitter is Like Today’s Journalism…by Aaron Brown

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Brown_6.24.jpgBrownie don’t tweet.

Aaron Brown said no when the producers of his PBS public-affairs series, “Wide Angle,” asked him to send Twitter bulletins during his recent expedition to Ethiopia and Mozambique.

“They wanted me to Twitter, or is it Tweet, my way across Africa,” says Brown, 60, a CNN exile. “I said, ‘I’m working, guys. This is a long, hard trip. I don’t have time to think up silly, 140-character notes.’”

Season 2 of “Wide Angle” launches tonight. Ten episodes are ordered.

Brown spends most of the year at Arizona State in Tempe, where he’s a full-time professor in the Cronkite School of Journalism. He joined the faculty in 2008, three years after leaving CNN.

When it comes to Journalism with a capital J, Brown is the first to admit he’s old school.

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The Ticker: Giuliani, Wong Ulrich, Brown…

> The New York Post reports Rudy Giuliani is “the leading candidate” to take over Bill O’Reilly‘s soon-to-be vacated Westwood One radio seat. Fox News announced yesterday John Gibson would replace O’Reilly’s FOX News Talk show beginning January 19.

> CNBC’s “On the Money,” hosted by Carmen Wong Ulrich, is moving to 10pmET beginning tomorrow. Taking over the 9pmET spot will be a rotation of CNBC’s original longform programs.

> The Aaron Brown-anchored PBS show “Wide Angle,” is adding a new online exclusive series of documentary shorts today. The first episode of “Focal Point” is titled “From Jihad to Rehab,” and takes viewers inside a rehab center in Saudi Arabia.

The Ticker (Anchor Edition): Brown, Hemmer, Dart…

> Former CNN, now PBS anchor Aaron Brown is profiled in “The truth is, I liked anchoring shows and also got tired of anchoring shows.”

> Former CNN, now FNC anchor Bill Hemmer opens up about MSNBC: “I believe our competition at MSNBC made a decision on how to program their network, which is different than how we program our network.”

> Former MSNBC, now local anchor Gulstan Dart, is on the move. Dart joins NBC affiliate KCRA in Sacramento next month. After anchoring at MSNBC, Dart went to work for WSB in Atlanta and is currently an anchor at KIRO-TV in Seattle.

Paula Zahn Resigns

zahn4_7.24.jpgFirst on TVNewser: Paula Zahn has resigned from CNN. Zahn hosted CNN’s 8pm ET program, Paula Zahn Now.

The departure comes just one day after Campbell Brown signed on with CNN. TVNewser joined a conference call around this time yesterday, in which CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein introduced Brown as his network’s newest on-air hire. Klein promised an announcement about Brown’s primetime program would be made “over the next several days.”

Zahn joined CNN in 2001. Her first day on the air was September 11, co-anchoring coverage of the 9/11 attacks with another new hire at the time, Aaron Brown. Later that fall, Zahn began hosting American Morning. From 1999-2001 Zahn anchored a primetime show on Fox News Channel called “The Edge.”

Click continued to read Zahn’s goodbye note…

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