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Posts Tagged ‘Alexandra Wallace’

Alexandra Wallace: ‘Nightly News’ ‘Completely Focused on Correcting’ Demo Ratings

BRIAN-WILLIAMSThe Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie takes a behind-the-scenes look at “several ongoing ratings and personnel challenges” at NBC News. On the heels of “Today” and “Meet the Press” falling from the top spots in the ratings, ABC’s “World News” has been keeping NBC’s “Nightly News” in a tight race for the top spot in the A25-54 demographic, something that is not sitting well with the “Nightly” staff, according to THR:

Sources say Brian Williams, 55, has been rankled by the ratings slide. But NBC News senior vp Alexandra Wallace, who has oversight of Nightly News and Meet the Press, cites the shows’ growth among younger viewers. NBC News ratings crunchers apparently have narrowed the weakness to viewers at the older end of the 25-to-54 spectrum, specifically 45-to-54.

“Brian, like all of us who work on Nightly News, is less than happy about the one small demo issue we have and [we] are completely focused on correcting it,” Wallace tells THR. “We’re competitive people, so we want to win everywhere.”

Of course, the consensus at NBC News is that the horse race between Williams and Diane Sawyer won’t last. But World News executive producer Michael Corn begs to differ. “We’re growing,” he says. “To us, this is the very beginning of a long-range plan. It’s a nice start, but we have a long way to go.”

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NBC News Toasts Cheryl Gould: ‘She Came to the Newsroom With a Fresh Perspective’

NUP_163612_0024.JPGCurrent and former NBC News talent, executives and producers gathered at 30 Rock last night to celebrate Cheryl Gould, who is retiring after 37 years at the network.

Gould was toasted by Tom Brokaw, former NBC News presidents Steve Capus and Bill Wheatley, and Andrea Mitchell, who called Gould a “pioneer” and “role model” for women in journalism. Among many other roles at NBC, Gould was the first female executive producer of “Nightly News.”

“She came to the newsroom with a fresh perspective — the idea that we can constantly raise the bar, that we’ve got to be reaching for the heights in terms of our obligation to our audience on a daily basis,” Brokaw said. “…She knew what she had to do was to change the DNA of news so that it had a wider lens attached to it.”

Also in attendance: Deborah Turness, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer, Bob Hager, Alexandra Wallace, David Corvo, Patrick Burkey, Don Nash, Ken Strickland, Liz Cole and Mark Whitaker, along with Gould’s fiancé and longtime partner, attorney Reid Weingarten.

Palace Intrigue During ‘Today’ Show Changes

Joe Hagan‘s 6,400-word New York magazine cover story on the “Today” show’s troubles includes intriguing behind-the-scenes details that TV producers would love to dramatize for an audience — if so many TV producers weren’t involved. Hagan writes about the acrimony between two now-departed NBC News executives, Jim Bell the longtime “Today” show EP and his boss, Steve Capus, who departed NBC News after 20 years last month.

Bell’s direct boss was Steve Capus, president of NBC News, who’d risen to power as the aggressive producer of Nightly News. Capus was involved in some of those conversations and agreed that Curry was a problem. But that wasn’t Capus’s only issue. He was rankled by Bell’s close relationship with [NBCU CEO Steve] Burke, worrying that Bell was consolidating power and angling to replace him. The two jockeyed for control over the Curry situation, sending mixed messages and sowing confusion, which made the trouble much harder to resolve.

And while Capus and Bell have moved on — Bell to NBC Olympics — the changes did not end there. The two people now in charge of “Today” had also “eyed the door,” reports Hagan:

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NBC News, Telemundo To Partner On ‘Decision 2012′ Election Coverage

NBC News and Telemundo are both part of the NBCUniversal family, and for the first time, the two corporate cousins will be leveraging their relationship to cover a Presidential election. NBC News and Telemundo will be partnering on “Decision 2012″ coverage starting immediately, with NBC News senior VP Alexandra Wallace managing the relationship between the two companies going forward.

What do the companies get? Telemundo gets access to a massive wealth of political information and news provided by NBC News, while NBC gets insight and information related to Hispanic voters, a key voting demographic.

“In addition to featuring reports from Telemundo, NBC News and MSNBC’s reporters, efforts will include joint monthly polls, coverage of the candidates’ campaigns, conventions, and high visibility events around civic engagement and the role of the Hispanic vote,” NBC says.

The partnership is a key one for Telemundo. Univision is by far the ratings leader in Spanish-language TV, and that lead extends to its news programming. Univision is also partnering with ABC News to develop a new 24 hour cable news channel. Considering that both NBC News and Telemundo have news divisions, and they are already part of the same company, there is simply no good reason why the to shouldn’t share resources if it helps to keep them competitive.

More information after the jump.

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Brian Williams: ‘Running ‘Nightly’ is a job I would wish on no one’

New ‘NBC Nightly News’ executive producer Pat Burkey — now three weeks into the job — is Brian Williams’ fifth e.p. in his tenure as anchor and managing editor.

Five e.p.’s in seven years? No big deal, says Williams.

“The last two [Alexandra Wallace, Bob Epstein] have gone on to become NBC vice presidents. Steve Capus became president of NBC News. A lot of [turnover] has been quirks of timing. Running ‘Nightly’ is a job I would wish on no one. There’s a lot of pressure to maintain our standing and standards. They are all friends of mine in life.

“Turnover is only good for the broadcast,” Williams tells TVNewser. “We’ve been blessed with a position of strength. We have to remain agile and introduce change. A ton of folks used our executive producer job as a springboard for much bigger things within the company.”

Speaking of exec producers, Williams gives high marks to BBC and CBS alum Rome Hartman, e.p. of his new fall newsmagazine.

“He’s a terrific guy,” Williams says. “We’re very alike – demographically, physically, age-wise. He’s a thorough grownup.”

As for juggling both shows, Williams, a self-described quick study, says he’s not worried. Travel “is a constant. There will always be travel.”

His prediction for the newsmag: “We know how to tell good stories. Lord knows we’ve got the horses.”

Pat Burkey Named EP of ‘NBC Nightly News’

As we first reported yesterday, and is now official, Pat Burkey has been named Executive Producer of “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” replacing Bob Epstein who was named VP of NBC News Specials on Tuesday.

“We’re replacing a friend with a friend, a news veteran with a news veteran,” says Williams in a press release announcing the news. “Bob Epstein has led the broadcast brilliantly — and Pat is a much-loved member of the family. Everyone gets to move up — and that’s great news for everyone at NBC News.”

Burkey joined NBC News in 1995 producing the NBC NewsChannel-produced “Nightside.” He joined MSNBC at launch 15 years ago this month. In 2000, Burkey moved to Williams’s MSNBC newscast “The News” before joining “NBC Nightly News” in 2004.

Burkey is Williams’s 5th EP in the almost 7 years he’s been the anchor and managing editor, starting with Steve Capus who was bumped upstairs — and is now NBC News president — in 2004-2005, John Reiss from 2005-2007 (now EP of MSNBC’s “Hardball”), Alexandra Wallace from 2007-2008 (a VP and deputy to Capus), and Epstein from 2008-2011.

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Networks Fill Journalists’ Backpacks Gradually

Engel_3.5.jpgIn his Monday media column, WaPo’s Howard Kurtz writes about the growth in digital newsgathering on both the local and national levels.

“I would not say cost wasn’t a factor, but it was not the driving factor,” says Alexandra Wallace, senior vice president at NBC, which began the switch in earnest four years ago. “Sometimes you can get an intimacy with a tiny camera that you wouldn’t get with a 2 1/2-foot camera sitting on someone’s shoulder… I mostly consider everyone here a digital journalist.”

Kurtz also talks with Richard Engel, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent who carries a small, $3,000 camera with him.

“On the plus side it gives you an extra pair of eyes and lets you spread out on a larger field. The downside is, I’m not a professional cameraman. My cameraman is trained to do this. It’d be presumptuous of me to think I can do what he can do. You’ll never get the quality that he does.”

Related: The Shot Heard ‘Round the Industry. Backpack Journalism on the Rise

What’s a CBS Guy Doing at NBC?

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Heyward_6.26.jpgFormer CBS News chief Andrew Heyward says his new gig as an NBC News consultant has nothing to do with his alma mater.

“I have wonderful relationships at CBS,” says Heyward, 58, head of the news division from 1996 to 2005. “It’s just easier to come in and do a project at a place where you haven’t worked before. It’s totally non-threatening and positive.”

Heyward, who left CBS in the aftermath of Memogate, says he gets together regularly with his successor, Sean McManus.

He also chats with former colleague Alexandra Wallace, now an NBC News executive. During a recent conversation, “she said they had a project they wanted me to look into.”

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Former CBS News Boss Consulting for NBC

The NYObserver’s Felix Gillette reports former CBS News president Andy Heyward is now consulting for NBC News.

According to an NBC News spokesperson, Mr. Heyward will be working with NBC News President Steve Capus and NBC News Senior Vice President Alexandra Wallace on several programming and news gathering initiatives. Not so long ago, Mr. Heyward and Ms. Wallace worked together at CBS News, where Mr. Heyward was president from 1996 to 2005.