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Posts Tagged ‘Anne Sweeney’

TV Execs Sweep the ’100 Most Powerful Women in the Entertainment Industry 2010′ List

CBS News anchor Katie Couric was the keynote address speaker yesterday in Beverly Hills at the 19th annual event honoring the 100 most powerful women in the entertainment industry, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter and presented by Lifetime Television.

Couric joked yesterday that she loves the smell of estrogen in the morning. She then, switching tones, paid tribute to her sister Emily, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2001.

Disney/ABC Television Group President and Disney Media Networks Co-Chair Anne Sweeney made it to the #1 spot on the list for the second consecutive year. She shared the honor in 2009 with Sony’s Amy Pascal.

Other notable women in TV on the list were Oprah Winfrey, President of CBS Entertainment Nina Tassler, president of NBC Universal Cable Bonnie Hammer, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Television Dana Walden, president and CEO of A&E Television Networks Abbe Raven, and chairman and CEO of MTV Networks Judy McGrath.

Dame Helen Mirren received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented by Halle Berry.

Video from the event with Mirren and Couric is after the jump…
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Breaking: Ben Sherwood to Lead ABC News

First on TVNewser: Anne Sweeney, the president of Disney/ABC Television has named Ben Sherwood to lead  the news division, TVNewser has learned. Sherwood is the former Executive Producer of “Good Morning America.”

Developing…

Sherwood left ABC and “Good Morning America” in June 2006. He made the move to the West Coast and continued to write books. One of which, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, , was made into a major motion picture last summer.

Before ABC, Sherwood was with NBC News as a senior producer on the “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.”

Writes Sweeney in a note to staff: “Those of you who worked with Ben during his previous tenures at ABC News on PrimeTime and Good Morning America know him to be the quintessential journalist, with the integrity and innovative spirit that defines ABC News.”

David Westin announced in early September that he would be leaving the company — where he’s been president since March 1997.

Insiders tell us Westin is writing a book about his time at the network which will include some of the difficult decisions he’s had to make over the last 13 years.

> More: Internal email from Anne Sweeney, after the jump…

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Who’s on the Short List for the top job at ABC News?

B&C’s Marisa Guthrie has an update on the search for David Westin‘s replacement at ABC News. Guthrie reports Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney was at ABC News headquarters in New York last week:

According to multiple sources, Sweeney held meetings with a handful of current executives at ABC News, including James Goldston and Jim Murphy, executive producers at Nightline and Good Morning America, respectively. Sweeney also met with Kate O’Brian, senior VP of news coverage. Jon Banner, executive producer of World News with Diane Sawyer, had a meeting with Sweeney at an earlier occasion.

Multiple names from the ABC station group including O&O president Rebecca Campbell and Emily Barr, the president and general manager of WLS-TV, the ABC O&O in Chicago, have been disavowed.

By the way, we still have our poll open on the subject. What do you think?

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Female Newsers Make Forbes ‘Power Women’ List

A number of high profile female news anchors made the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women. The top ranked newser on the list was “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric, who came in at number 22.

“Today”‘s Meredith Vieira, who replaced Couric at the program, was ranked 40th, one slot ahead of England’s Queen Elizabeth II.

“ABC World News” anchor Diane Sawyer was ranked 46th, while her boss’s boss, Disney-ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney, come in at number 69. Another ABC anchor, “This Week’s Christiane Amanpour, placed 73rd.

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Reexamining ABC News’ Recent Senior Leadership Changes

Disney-Logo090610.jpgOn August 26, ABC News president David Westin announced a new senior leadership structure at the division.

At the time, it seemed as though Westin was taking a more hands-on approach to ABC News programs, with the EPs of “World News,” “GMA” and “Nightline” reporting directly to him.

In hindsight, however, the rearranging takes on a very different appearance.

In his memo to staff yesterday, Westin says that he told Disney-ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney and Disney CEO Bob Iger of his decision “a month ago.”

In other words, the new leadership stricture was put together with the knowledge that Westin would be leaving the company.

So what can we take away from all this?

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NY Times: David Westin to Resign From ABC News

Westin_2.23.jpgUpdate: TVNewser has the internal memo from Westin announcing his departure. The full memo is after the jump:

I am confident ABC News is better positioned for the future than it has been at any time since I came here in March of 1997.

As rewarding as I’ve found my time here, there are some other things I want to do professionally — things that I cannot explore while fulfilling my responsibilities here.

I’m announcing my decision now so that I can pursue those possibilities, something I couldn’t do in fairness to all of you until I’d told you of my plans to step down.

Original story: The New York TimesBill Carter reports that ABC News president David Westin will submit his resignation from the company Tuesday.

Carter reports that Westin will stay on through the end of the year, and that he told senior staffers of his decision today.

Why step down?

The decision, one of the staff members said on Monday night, relates to a long-running conflict between Mr. Westin and the management of the network, including ABC’s parent company, the Walt Disney Company, over the financial standing of the news division.

ABC News reduced its workforce by around 25% earlier this year. As a broadcast news operation without the benefit of a strong cable presence, the division has been hit especially hard during the recession.

Westin’s memo to staff is below…

More: Anne Sweeney‘s note to staff: “While it will be sad to see David leave, his desire to pursue other professional endeavors is understandable, and commendable…” (After the jump)
Westin_2.23.jpgUpdate: TVNewser has the internal memo from Westin announcing his departure. The full memo is after the jump:

I am confident ABC News is better positioned for the future than it has been at any time since I came here in March of 1997.

As rewarding as I’ve found my time here, there are some other things I want to do professionally — things that I cannot explore while fulfilling my responsibilities here.

I’m announcing my decision now so that I can pursue those possibilities, something I couldn’t do in fairness to all of you until I’d told you of my plans to step down.

Original story: The New York TimesBill Carter reports that ABC News president David Westin will submit his resignation from the company Tuesday.

Carter reports that Westin will stay on through the end of the year, and that he told senior staffers of his decision today.

Why step down?

The decision, one of the staff members said on Monday night, relates to a long-running conflict between Mr. Westin and the management of the network, including ABC’s parent company, the Walt Disney Company, over the financial standing of the news division.

ABC News reduced its workforce by around 25% earlier this year. As a broadcast news operation without the benefit of a strong cable presence, the division has been hit especially hard during the recession.

Westin’s memo to staff is below…

More: Anne Sweeney‘s note to staff: “While it will be sad to see David leave, his desire to pursue other professional endeavors is understandable, and commendable…” (After the jump)

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McPherson Out at ABC, What Does It Mean for Nightline?

mcpherson072810.jpg Yesterday Steve McPherson, ABC’s President of Entertainment, submitted his resignation. The shakeup took the media world by surprise last night. McPherson says he plans to start a new media company, and a “new entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business.”

In the TV news world, McPherson was known to be a vocal critic of “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m., arguing that the time period should belong to the entertainment division of ABC, in order to better compete with “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show.”

In 2008, when it looked like Jay Leno would become available once Conan O’Brien took over “Tonight,” McPherson said that putting a comedy program at 11:35 was a “huge possibility,” and that late night in general was “a growth area for us.”

Of course, the decision to move “Nightline” to another slot would had to have come from Anne Sweeney, who oversees the Disney-ABC TV group, and to whom both McPherson and ABC News chief David Westin report.

So will McPherson’s apparent replacement, ABC Family president Paul Lee, fight as hard to bring “Nightline”‘s time period to the entertainment side of the company? It is far too soon to tell, but if anyone could appreciate what “Nightline” brings to ABC, it is Lee.

As this 2008 profile notes, Lee got his start in television as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for the BBC, eventually moving stateside as the founding GM of BBC America.

George Stephanopoulos Offered ‘Good Morning America’ Job

WaPo’s Howard Kurtz reports George Stephanopoulos has been offered the job of co-anchor of “Good Morning America.” Stephanopoulos has been the most-talked about candidate for the position which will be vacated next Friday when Diane Sawyer signs off. Sawyer takes over anchoring “World News” soon after the retirement of Charlie Gibson on Dec. 18. Kurtz:

While the network’s chief Washington correspondent has not yet accepted the job, he was in New York this week, as was Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group. The talks with Stephanopoulos have involved not just the level of multimillion-dollar compensation but the details of his duties.

Sources tell TVNewser the offer was made Tuesday morning, but it’s not clear if Stephanopoulos met with Sweeney while both were in New York. Another insider with knowledge of the situation tells us, “No deal is in place. It’s complicated, but there is no ‘imminent announcement.’”

ABC News spokesperson Jeffrey Schneider tells TVNewser, “We said it was going to take a couple months, it’s taking a couple months. When there’s something to actually announce, we’ll let everybody know.”

> More from FishbowlDC: “Sources also tell us that the couple is already considering schools for their girls to attend in New York City.”

Anne Sweeney on the Magic ABC News Brings to Disney: ‘Well Worth the Money’

Sweeney_12.1.jpgB&C’s Marisa Guthrie reports on a town hall meeting held by Disney/ABC Television Group chief Anne Sweeney for employees. Some of the questions, not surprisingly, were about ABC News, including the GMA co-anchor situation.

While Sweeney dismissed the rumor that ABC/Disney was considering a plan to move Good Morning America back under the purview of the entertainment division, when she was pressed on a successor for GMA, she answered “curtly,” said one source: “No decision has been made.”

Sweeney was in New York speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit Monday. Reuters’ Robert MacMillan caught up with Sweeney and asked her about how ABC News fits into the greater ABC/Disney empire.

MacMillan: How much will you preserve ABC’s news budget when the returns in this fragmenting news media landscape are lesser than ever?

Sweeney: The budgets are always going to change, just as they have in the other parts and certainly in our other businesses.

MacMillan: I take it the budgets are going to keep shrinking.

Sweeney: The budgets are gonna keep changing. You can no more predict when the next great national emergency is going to happen, and you’re going to have to deploy those resources because people are counting on you. One of the things that distinguishes ABC News from a lot of people that are providing opinion out there is really their standard of excellence. Their standards of journalism are very, very high. And I think it is well worth the money.

ABC News Cutting 35-40 Staffers

abc_1-29.jpgFirst on TVNewser: ABC News is cutting 35-40 staffers as part of larger cuts at Disney-ABC Television. In an internal memo obtained by TVNewser, Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group, announces, “we’re now faced with the harsh reality of having to eliminate jobs in some areas.”

Regarding ABC News, The New York Observer reported in December, “The cuts could affect as many as 35 staffers and would take effect in the new year.” We’re told the number may be as high as 40. Also in the Observer story: “The focus would be on a slimming down of political units the network bulked up during the presidential campaign.”

> Update from an anonymous tipster: “35 jobs lost (out of 1,300 in News division.) Cuts will come from news magazines, News Now and digital Another 60 open positions will not be filled.”

Click continued to see Sweeney’s full memo…

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