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Posts Tagged ‘Anne Sweeney’

James Goldston Named President of ABC News

GoldstonJames Goldston is the new president of ABC News. Goldston and his predecessor Ben Sherwood, who was named co-president of Disney/ABC TV two weeks ago, just broke the news to ABC News staffers on the fifth floor at ABC’s New York headquarters, to applause, insiders tell us.

For the last two years, Goldston has been Senior Vice President at the news division of the ABC network.

Goldston joined ABC News in 2004 from Britain’s ITV. Following a stint as Senior Producer of primetime specials and investigations, he was promoted to Executive Producer of “Nightline,” a position he held until 2011. Goldston then joined “Good Morning America” as Senior EP as the show gained on, and eventually overtook NBC’s “Today” as the most-watched morning show.

Sherwood will assist with the transition over the next couple of weeks, before devoting his attention to his new job as co-president of Disney/ABC TV. He’ll fully take over the top job at the ABC network when Anne Sweeney steps down early next year.

Insiders tell us Sherwood started the 9am editorial meeting, attended by staffers around the world, before giving up his seat, literally, to Goldston, who praised Sherwood for having “big dreams.” Also on the editorial call, Goldston’s parents who phoned in from England. Goldston thanked them for sacrificing so much to allow him to be the first person on either side of his family to graduate from college — Jesus College at Oxford, no less.

With Goldston’s appointment, two of the heads of the big three American broadcast news divisions are British. NBC News president Deborah Turness, also an ITV alum, is from Hertfordshire, north of London.

The full news release, after the jump…

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Ben Sherwood’s Champagne Toast from ABC News Colleagues

BEN SHERWOOD (PRESIDENT, ABC NEWS)ABC News president Ben Sherwood got a champagne toast from his senior team Tuesday following the news of his promotion to co-president of Disney/ABC TV. Sherwood was tapped for the top job on Monday. He’ll take over for Anne Sweeney early next year. It’s the first time an ABC News president has moved up to the top job at the network. “People are thrilled at the prospect of having an ally like Ben in Burbank,” an ABC insider tells TVNewser.

Sherwood took the red eye back to New York Tuesday morning. In the 9am editorial meeting he got a round of applause from ABC News staffers in New York and beyond. “He was very humble and gave credit to the whole news division,” says our source.

Sherwood has been the boss at ABC News a little over three years — but still the veteran news division chief having been in the job a few months longer than Jeff Fager and David Rhodes at CBS. Deborah Turness took over at NBC News last summer.

ABC News already has a sizable chunk of ABC real estate, with three hours a day of news between “GMA” “World News” and “Nightline,” as well as “20/20,” “Nightline Prime”, and other primetime specials. The news division also experimented with “Good Afternoon America” in the summer of 2012.

Sherwood’s senior staff, including show EPs, met around 3pm yesterday for a champagne toast. We hear none of them pitched Sherwood on a new ABC show… at least not yet. Sherwood’s first order of business will be to choose his successor at ABC News.

Ben Sherwood to Succeed Anne Sweeney as President of Disney/ABC Television Group

Ben SherwoodABC News president Ben Sherwood will succeed Anne Sweeney as the president of the Disney/ABC Television group next year, Disney announced today. Sherwood will begin the transition immediately and take on the role of Co-President of Disney/ABC while also overseeing ABC News until his successor is named.

“Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen. He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

Sherwood has been the president of ABC News since 2010. Under his leadership, “Good Morning America” snapped the “Today” show’s 16-year winning streak. In a statement, he thanked Iger and Sweeney for their leadership, and ABC News staffers for their dedication.

“I must also thank the remarkable people of ABC News who inspire me every day with their creativity, dedication and spirit. I will keep their commitment to excellence and their fierce competitiveness firmly in mind as I move forward to meet this exciting new challenge,” he said.

The official announcement, as well as the internal note to ABC staffers from Sweeney, is after the jump.

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Anne Sweeney Leaving Disney/ABC

anne sweeneyAnne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, is leaving the company in January.

“The past 18 years at Disney have been the highlight of my executive career,” Sweeney said in a statement. “But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place.”

Sweeney, 55, says she finally listened to that voice and will learn the art of television directing.

In her current role Sweeney oversaw a vast collection of the ABC portfolio, including the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, and the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

Sweeney’s departure will come three months before Bob Iger steps down as CEO of Disney where he will remain executive chairman. “I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years,” Sweeney says.

Iger tells The Hollywood Reporter‘s Janice Min, who first reported the news, he was taken aback when Sweeney told him her plans. “She said, ‘I’m going to shock you,’ and then I started guessing. [I guessed] cooking in Italy.”

Read the news release, after the jump…

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Norah O’Donnell, Mika Brzezinski Attend Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit

This week was the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. Among the participants: Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney; Judy Woodruff of PBS; Norah O’Donnell and Lesley Stahl of CBS News; Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC; Chelsea Clinton and Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News; Becky Quick of CNBC; Fox News panelist Nina Easton and CNN political consultant Hilary Rosen.

Isaac Lee Named CEO of Fusion

isaac leeIsaac Lee has been named CEO of Fusion, the joint ABC News and Univision network set to launch later this month. In his new role, Lee will continue as president of Univision News, a position he has held since 2010.

“Isaac has been a tremendous partner in this endeavor since its inception,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a statement. “His deep understanding of content that is relevant to Latinos and millennials will be critical as we bring together diverse cultures, voices and viewpoints to serve this influential and growing audience in the months and years ahead.”

Beau Ferrari, the executive vice president of operations for Univision, has been serving as Fusion’s interim president. The network is set to launch on October 28, with the digital platform going live on October 21.

“I am honored to take on this increased role with the incredibly creative and ambitious team at Fusion,” said Isaac Lee. “I want to congratulate Beau Ferrari who has done an excellent job putting in place the building blocks for this network’s long term success. I look forward to continuing to work with him and our great partners at ABC and Univision to grow this into one of the most impactful media organizations.”

More from Fusion after the jump. Read more

The Ticker: ABC/Clear Channel, Morley Safer, Wapner’s Cooking Chops

  • ABC and Clear Channel have struck a wide-ranging partnership that will bring ABC programming like “Good Morninf America” to IHeartRadio. Check out the full announcement after the jump for more details.

  • CNBC’s Scott Wapner doesn’t just grill business executives, he is also a master griller in the backyard. CNBC’s Brian Steel interviews Wapner as part iof a new video series for the channel. Watch below.

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Anne Sweeney, Dick Clark Honored at Mirror Awards

Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications’ annual Mirror Awards today.

“ABC World News” weekend anchor David Muir emceed the event, which honors the year’s best media reporting. He told TVNewser being on hand for Sweeney’s award was “an honor for me.”

“Sweeney is one of those rare corporate titans — the most powerful woman in Hollywood — who cares so much about journalism,” Muir told TVNewser. “It’s really had an impact on me watching someone who is at the top of the industry carry the mantle of journalism.”

In his remarks, Muir said it was rare to have someone so busy “give as much to the news division as Anne does,” recalling her reaction to a dangerous situation he and his crew were in while covering the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Egypt. Read more

Barbara Walters On Retiring in 2014: ‘This Is What I Want To Do’

As expected, ABC’s Barbara Walters announced her retirement on “The View” today. The show kicked off with Walters introducing a brief career retrospective, followed by her formal announcement:

“I have been on television–continuously–for over 50 years,” Walters said. “But in the Summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all. It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am perfectly healthy, this is my decision and I have been thinking about it for a long time. This is what I want to do.”

The audience in “The View” studio was filled with executives, including ABC News president Ben Sherwood (“Not only the best president of a news division but also the tallest,” Walters joked), ABC executive VP Vicki Dummer, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee, Disney-ABC TV group president Anne Sweeney and Disney CEO Bob Iger, who shared the story of when he first met Walters back in 1976.

He was a production assistant, and was asked to bring something to Walters’ dressing room. He wasn’t expecting her to be there, but she was, and she was very kind to him.

“From then on you called me Jim, my name is Bob,” he quipped, adding more seriously:

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ABC News’ Role in Michelle Obama’s Oscar Act

The LA Times has a behind-the-scenes look at Michelle Obama‘s starring role in the Academy Awards Sunday night. The first lady did the honors, awarding Best Picture to “Argo.” ABC News played a big part in making it happens, writes Steven Zeitchik:

To reduce the risk of a leak, ABC News’ political bureau, rather than its entertainment division, was involved in the physical production. Producers and the first lady’s office also found a room that wouldn’t be needed all weekend, since technicians needed to begin set-up on Saturday. The Diplomatic Reception Room – a space that has enjoyed myriad uses over the years, including the site for FDR’s fireside chats – fit the bill. (Producers Craig and Neil) Zadan and Meron also kept all but the top executives out of the loop; Disney’s Robert Iger and Anne Sweeney were among the few not directly involved with the show who knew.

> Update: Turns out ABC News was not involved in the set-up. Rather, it was handled through ABC’s West Coast entertainment division. “We were just as surprised as everyone else when the first lady appeared on the show,” ABC News SVP Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser.

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