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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Heyward’

Al Jazeera America On The Hunt For Chief

TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman weighs in on Al Jazeera America, which is currently on the lookout for a chief executive to run the new channel, which will take over the channel space of Current TV later this year.

Waxman has a list of names that she says are in consideration, and there are many familiar faces. Current TV chief David Bohrman is said not to be in the running, while Steve Capus is said to be “skeptical.”

One of the leading candidates, according to Waxman, is former CNN/U.S. chief Jonathan Klein:

Klein, who was fired in 2010, has the news experience and is believed to want the job. According to an individual with knowledge of his thinking, Klein believes there is a ripe opportunity for a news network to occupy the niche that CNN used to — in other words, hard-core reporting with serious journalists.

Others on the list include former CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker, former ABC News president David Westin and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward.

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Brian Williams, Peter Jennings, Whoever

Lena Dunham, (left in the picture) if you don’t know, is the the creator and star of the HBO series “Girls” which stars Brian Williams‘ daughter Allison (far right) as well as Zosia Mamet, the daughter of filmmaker David Mamet. In an interview with ESPN’s Bill Simmons this week, Dunham said it’s ridiculous to think that the young ladies in “Girls” got their jobs because of their prominent, well-connected parents, including that Williams guy.

“In my house, growing up, we only watched Charlie Rose and weird PBS forms of news. I’m a Brian Williams fan, but I really didn’t know who he was,” says Dunham. “Until I met him, I was picturing who I believed to be Peter Jennings … my knowledge of newscasters and picking them out of a lineup [is poor].”

Dunham was at 30 Rock Wednesday appearing on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” No word if she ran into Williams. As TVNewser reported earlier, Sarah Heyward, daughter of former CBS News president Andrew Heyward is the story editor on “Girls.” The season finale is Sunday on HBO.

(h/t HuffPost)

Titans, Moguls and a Presidential Candidate Pay Respects to Mike Wallace

If the news business was like football, Mike Wallace would be its MVP. But if news was a beauty contest, Wallace would never have been Mr. Congeniality.

That’s what hundreds of Mike Wallace’s friends, colleagues and family — four generations of them — learned as they gathered at the Rose Hall at Time Warner Center to remember the “60 Minutes” original who died April 8 at age 93.

Morley Safer and Steve Kroft remembered Wallace’s unrelenting competitive streak. When Kroft had set up an interview with Gov. Bill Clinton in 1988, amidst accusations of an extra-marital affair, Kroft says, “Mike offered me encouragement, while trying to take the story away from me.”

Safer admitted months would go by without the two reporters even speaking to each other. In a taped piece, the late Ed Bradley echoed the sentiment, after Wallace stole a Manuel Noriega interview from him. “You and I didn’t talk for  six months,” Bradley says to Wallace who is unmoved.

“He brought the same zeal to a story as he did to a penny ante poker game,” said Safer.

Wallace even stole a story from his own son, Chris Wallace who, at the time, was working for ABC’s “Primetime.” In the Fall of 1997, young Wallace had set up an interview with comedian Chris Rock. Rock canceled not long before the shoot. Wallace later found out why.

“My old man had stolen the interview!” said Wallace. “And he knew he’d stolen it from me!” Bradley ended up conducting the Rock interview, mostly to make amends for the Noriega theft, but also to keep in good stead with his son.

“He was so exasperating and yet so endearing,” said Wallace choking back tears.

“It took many years for us to find our path to each other,” the Fox News anchor admitted. “He had a good heart. He could be naughty. But he was never mean.”

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Sex, Single ‘Girls’ and Their News Dads

Former CBS News president Andrew Heyward with daughters, Emily (left) a marketing executive, and Sarah, a writer for HBO's 'Girls'

Actress Allison Williams, daughter of NBC anchor Brian Williams, isn’t the only one with paternal news cred on HBO’s new comedy, “Girls.”

Story editor Sarah Heyward also has a famous news-dad — former CBS News president Andrew Heyward. Both Heywards are Harvard grads; only one of them is certifiably funny. (Guess which one?)

“Girls,” which debuted Sunday, follows a quartet of 20-something girlfriends in New York as they explore sex, adulthood and the meaning of life, in no particular order. It’s already been renewed for season two.

Heyward, 27, earned an MFA in fiction from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. She joined “Girls” for the pilot as a personal assistant to co-executive producer Jenny Konner, whom she identifies as “my best friend from college’s ex-sister-in-law.” (Got that?)

After reading one of one of Heyward’s short stories, “How to Lose Your Virginity,” Konner accidentally/on purpose left her printout on a director’s chair on set. Lena Dunham, ‘Girls’ creator and writer, picked it up and two weeks later, Heyward was hired as a staff writer.

Heyward and Williams, a Yalie, met at the “Girls” auditions. Williams read for Marnie, the roommate and best friend to lead character Hannah, played by Dunham.

“Allison killed it,” recalls Heyward. “It felt like we probably saw every young actress in L.A., of which there are many. She was amazing.” The two “made a connection quickly,” Heyward says, and have since become friends. Both their fathers attended the New York premiere.

To Heyward pere, the sexual graphicness of “Girls” was less upsetting than was the lovelessness of the encounters.

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Memories of Mike Wallace, Off Camera

I admit it – I always had a soft spot for Mike Wallace.

Not the on-camera Wallace, who in his glory days as “60 Minutes’’ chief inquisitor struck fear into the hearts of evil-doers, large and small; but the real Wallace, who died Saturday, a month before his 94th birthday.

I think he had a soft spot for me, too. Not once during 30 years’ of interviews did he lose his legendary temper or make a cutting remark or dodge a question. More than a few times, he returned deadline calls from aboard an airplane — a big deal back in the day.

My favorite interview took place in his CBS office in New York in 1984, shortly before the infamous Westmoreland libel trial. Wallace was a defendant and key witness in the $120 million suit, filed by Gen. William Westmoreland for a 1982 CBS documentary that claimed he had deliberately misrepresented enemy troop strength.

It was a horrible time for Wallace, then 66 and in his 16th season with “60 Minutes.” The trial was weighing heavy on his mind, and his third marriage was on the rocks. Still, he didn’t hesitate when I asked him, on sheer whim, what he usually ate for breakfast.

Two pieces of whole-wheat toast and a vitamin, he said. And, like his father before him, a cup of hot water and lemon … “for the kaboom.”

At that moment, Myron Leon Wallace, the son of Russian immigrants, could have been my father.

The Westmoreland trial lasted 18 weeks. It was settled out of court in February 1985, just days before it was to have gone to the jury. Wallace, scheduled as a defense witness, had not testified.

I couldn’t think of Wallace without thinking of Don Hewitt, the late “60 Minutes” creator and executive producer. He and Wallace, an original “60″ correspondent from 1968, were infamous for their high-decibel office battles. I dubbed them the Sunshine Boys.

I was on the phone with Wallace once when Hewitt grabbed the receiver from his hands and said, “You should be talking to me instead of Mike. I’m much more interesting.” Chuckling, I told him to shut his pie hole and to put Wallace back on the phone. He did.

Wallace and Hewitt “were legendary for their quarrels,” former CBS News president Andrew Heyward recalled yesterday. “Mike was quick to raise his voice, as was Don. They always

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Scott Pelley, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and More Turn Out to Remember Lane Venardos

Longtime CBS News executive Lane Venardos was fondly remembered Wednesday in a moving service at the Paley Center in New York City.

Venardos who died August 19 at his home in Maui, spent 30 years at CBS News producing live news, special events and documentaries. He would go on to produce the “Survivor” live finales for Mark Burnett on CBS.

More than 200 luminaries from across the television industry attended the memorial, including CBS News chairman Jeff Fager, News president David Rhodes; Charles Osgood, Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, Lesley Stahl, and Rita Braver; current “CBS Evening News” EP Pat Shevlin, CBS News VP Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews (who currently has the job Venardos once held) and “Sunday Morning” EP Rand Morrison.

Also Diane Sawyer, now with ABC News, who worked with Venardos during her time at CBS and from NBC: Brian Williams, News president Steve Capus and former CBSer, now EP of “Rock Center” Rome Hartman, were there, as was former CBS News president Andrew Heyward. ABC’s “This Week” EP Rick Kaplan, and former “GMA” boss Jim Murphy, both former CBS Newsers, attended.

Former CBS News and CBS, Inc. president Howard Stringer, who worked closely with Venardos during his years at CBS and who is now CEO of Sony, spoke via video. Other speakers included Pelley, Stahl, Williams and Venardos’s daughter Kelly who is a producer for “NBC Nightly News.” CBS News “48 Hours” EP Susan Zirinsky presented a video tribute (after the jump). The service concluded with a vocal solo performed by Venardos’s son, Kevin.

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Media Meshes at Mirror Awards Ceremony

Photo Courtesy: Newhouse School

Yesterday the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University held its fifth annual Mirror Awards ceremony, honoring the best in media reporting. You can read about the winners from FishbowlNY, here.

MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski hosted the event, which also presented special awards to Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Scarborough opened up the event with a friendly jab at his former executive producer, Chris Licht, who was in the audience.

“Our connection to the Newhouse school is through our executive producer Chris Licht. We have found working with him through the years that not only do you teach your students how to get out there in the media world and do it better than anyone else, but we have to say the trait that you instill that really means more than any other is loyalty. Sticking together through the years no matter what. How is CBS Chris?”

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was to present the award to Roberts. The Comcast CEO was unable to attend as he was in Switzerland securing the rights to the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 Olympics for NBC. Bewkes took the opportunity to poke fun at his business partner… and now competitor:

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NBC News, CBS News, Fox News Execs and Talent To Talk The Future of Media on Paley Center Panel

Where can you find Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren, CBS News correspondent Jeff Greenfield, NBC News senior VP Alex Wallace and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward all at the same table?

On Friday, the Paley Center for Media will host a lunchtime panel discussion “to consider the impact of digital media on recent news events and the implications for democracy.”

Heyward will moderate the panel, which will run from 12:30 PM-2 PM ET.

The discussion will be streamed live at http://www.paleycenter.org/dialogue

The full list of panelists is after the jump.

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Cable News Young Gun Gets Shot at Tiffany Network

CBS News’ brand-new management team doesn’t officially take over until tomorrow, but it’s already earning high marks from former division president Andrew Heyward.

“It’s a really creative, innovative way to structure top management,” says Heyward, a consultant to media companies. “I give Leslie [Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp.] a lot of credit for this.”

“This” is the unusual tandem of Bloomberg alum David Rhodes as CBS News president and ’60 Minutes’ executive producer Jeff Fager as chairman, a new title. In addition to topping the division’s flow chart, Fager will continue running ’60.’

Rhodes is a young (37) CBS outsider whose entire career has been in cable. Fager, 56, has spent more than half his life at CBS, where he is universally respected as a  newsman and manager.

Frank Sesno, former CNN Washington bureau chief, labels the professional coupling  “a dream team.”

“The boss understands the heritage, preserves the legacy, articulates the vision,” says Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “The president brings in new blood, a new sensibility and a cable edge.”

The duo, announced Feb. 7, made its first major move Friday with the exit of Paul Friedman, executive vice president for news, and Barbara Fedida, head of talent and development.  Neither departure was unexpected.

Friedman, in particular, was strongly disliked by the troops for his brusque management

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CNN Shift: Jon Klein on his dismissal: ‘It came out of left field’

Getting shot as a way of being fired isn’t always a bad thing, says Jonathan Klein.

“It’s like a sudden ’Sopranos’ ending to your job,” says Klein, who earlier today had compared his sudden departure as CNN/U.S. president to getting shot.

“There’s something to be said for quick and painless. It was surprising, but certainly quick. There was no rancor associated it.”

During his six-year run, Klein was unable to stop the prime-time bleeding with non-partisan programming. Conversely, his replacement, HLN’s Ken Jautz, found great success by wrangling big-buzz opinion-makers Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Klein says it is still possible for a cable news network to succeed in prime time without having a political spin a la Fox (right) or MSNBC (left.) The key is in finding the right talent.

“Other networks might be amusing or entertaining, but how many are truly essential viewing,” Klein says. “The challenge is to be interesting when you follow that non-partisan path and you really nail it. Then you become essential, like ’60 Minutes.’

“You need the right people in the right format. When CNN was at its best, we were essential viewing.”

Like other industry experts, Klein says the timing of his forced exit was unexpected, given that his new shows are about to launch – “Parker Spitzer” at 8 p.m. early next month and Piers Morgan at 9 in early ’11.

“It came out of left field,” says Klein, who has more than two years remaining in his contract. “I thought my reckoning would come a few months after the launches. I thought the judgment would be made on the quality of the shows and the ratings and the profits of the operation.

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