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Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Walters’

ABC News Has Best May Sweep Since Roone Arledge was In Charge

Goldston_Sawyer_Walters304ABC News is taking a victory lap after the network’s newscasts finished in first place in either the key news demo or total viewers, or, in the case of “Good Morning America,” both.

It was ABC’s best May sweep since since 1995, when legendary ABC News president Roone Arledge was in charge. As we reported earlier this week, “World News” won the A25-54 demo for the first time in more than six years. “Good Morning America” won the month in both Total Viewers and A25-54, with the largest demo lead over NBC’s “Today” in 20 years.

“This Week with George Stephanopoulos” finishes #1 in the A25-54 demo, its first win in that demo in nearly 21 years.

“Nightline” won its first sweeps period ever in Total Viewers in its new time slot out-delivering NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and CBS’ “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” (Meyers still takes the younger demos).

And “20/20″ wins the A18-49 demo in the Friday 10pm time slot and had its strongest May sweep in 7 years in Total Viewers, since May 2007.

Arledge is credited with building a formidable team of on-air journalists including Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, and David Brinkley during his tenure as president of ABC News from 1977 – 1998, putting ABC News in a competitive position for the first time with stalwarts CBS News and NBC News. Arledge passed away in 2002.

The May wins come as a transition in leadership is underway at ABC News with James Goldston (pictured above with Sawyer and Walters on Wednesday) taking over as news president in April from Ben Sherwood who is now president of the Disney/ABC TV group.

Much more in a release, with details, after the jump…

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Barbara Walters Comes Out of Retirement to Toast Diane Sawyer

Barbara Walters dropped by her building this afternoon to make sure the rent was still being paid. Actually, she stopped by ABC News HQ to toast her friend and colleague Diane Sawyer and her “World News” team for finishing May sweeps No. 1 in the A25-54 demo. It’s the first win for “World News” in the younger demo in more than 6 years.

ABC News President James Goldston, who assembled the gathering, congratulated Sawyer as the first female evening news anchor to win a sweeps month and called the win a proud moment for Sawyer, show EP Michael Corn and everyone in the news division.

Sawyer then made some remarks, thanking Goldston and his predecessor Disney ABC TV group president Ben Sherwood, her team and all of ABC News for their dedication and hard work. She joked that she doesn’t follow the ratings closely, but that she can always tell how the show did by the look on Corn’s face every Tuesday morning when the ratings come in. After remarks from Corn, Walters appeared from the audience, and joked that she came out of retirement for the celebration. Walters was of co-anchor of “ABC Evening News” from 1976-1978.

Barbara Walters to Leave Documents to Sarah Lawrence College

Walters specialBarbara Walters made a surprise appearance in Yonkers, NY Friday at the Sarah Lawrence College commencement where she announced she is leaving her personal papers to her alma mater. The Journal News reports Walters, who retired last week, “will send a collection of papers, recordings and photographs that document her decades as a television journalist” to the school.

Walters credited the college for instilling in her a sense of journalistic fearlessness. She recalled an interview she conducted some years ago with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Saving her toughest question for last, Walters recounted asking Putin, a former KGB operative, if he’d ever killed anyone.

“He said, ‘No, that was not my department,’ ” Walters said. “So later, several people said, ‘Where did you get the nerve to ask a question like that?’ And I said, ‘It’s easy. I went to a college where I was not afraid to ask questions.’ And this is that college. That is my contribution to world peace. So I thank Sarah Lawrence for it. I have been asking questions ever since my graduation and this is one more chance today, to wish all of you a wonderful, fulfilling life and to say thank you to this college I love.”

Robin Roberts on ‘GMA’: ‘By No Means Are We Going Around Thinking We’re Top Dog’

In an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this weekend, Robin Roberts talked to Brian Stelter about her health, her recent decision to publicly acknowledge her longtime girlfriend and Barbara Walters‘ retirement. Roberts also talked about how “Good Morning America” holds on to its top spot in the mornings, saying “we’re still the underdog, because we still act that way.”

“We’re not going around saying, ‘we’re number one.’ We’re doing exactly the same thing as we have done all along, from the moment I have gotten here, and that’s trying to produce the best show that we possibly can,” Roberts said. “And it’s very gratifying that the public is responding and making us — they’re making us number one. So by no means are we going around thinking we’re top dog.” Watch:

Longtime ABC News Anchor ‘Mad’ About Being Left Out of Barbara Walters’ Farewell

9781452062358_COVER.inddWhen 25 women in TV news were invited to take the stage for Barbara Walters‘ final “The View,” you knew someone — or many women — would be left out. Carole Simpson, a longtime ABC News anchor, has taken to Facebook, to share her displeasure about not being invited. Simpson, the author of the 2010 memoir “News Lady,” writes:

I wonder why I wasn’t included among the two dozen network newswomen and anchors who feted Barbara Walters at a private party and then on “The View?” We both worked at NBC and ABC at the same times. She is my idol and I believe she knows that. At first I was very sad and now I am very mad. I guess ABC News, after my 24 years there, still considers me persona non grata. The black woman anchor, who had to speak her mind for herself and others, is erased from ABC history.

As it turns out, ABC News had nothing to do with the invitations. It was left to “The View” producers to compile the list. Other women who might have been, but weren’t on the show include Christiane Amanpour, Mika Brzezinski, Norah O’Donnell, Andrea MitchellGwen Ifill, and Judy Woodruff.

‘Barbara Walters: Her Story’ Delivers Two-Year Friday High for ABC

Walters specialLast night, ABC’s “Barbara Walters: Her Story” was the highest-rated show in total viewers and A25-54 demo viewers, delivering ABC’s highest total viewer audience on Friday from 9-11pmET in two years.

9.3 million viewers and 2.3 million demo viewers watched as Walters answered questions about her life and career.

Throughout the special, there were flashbacks to her most memorable interviews with presidents, celebrities, and more. Viewers saw footage from Walters’ work on “The Today Show,” “ABC Evening News,” “20/20,” various Barbara Walters Specials, the “10 Most Fascinating People” specials, and “The View.”

Your Favorite Barbara Walters Interview Is…

walters304x200Barbara Walters retires from ABC News today and co-hosts her final episode of “The View.” TVNewser was there for the big send-off, which was taped yesterday, and featured 25 TV news’ highest-profile women. Walters will remain co-executive producer of the show.

Of course, Walters’ retirement comes with coverage of her decades of high-profile interviews with presidents, heads of state, celebrities, and everyday Americans who were thrust into the national spotlight.

We asked you earlier in the week what your favorite Barbara Walters interview was. 37% of you chose her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky, which drew a record 74 million viewers. Walters shed light on the former White House intern’s chances of possibly co-hosting “The View.”

There was a tie for second, as 18% of you chose both Walters’ historic 1977 joint interview with Israeli President Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and her 1981 interview with actress Katharine Hepburn. In the latter, Walters famously asked Hepburn if she was a tree, what kind would she be. And 34 years later, Walters can joke about it.

Rounding out the poll was was Walters’ sit-down with Cuban President Fidel Castro (14%). We also asked you to write in your votes: Pres. Ronald Reagan and comedian Richard Pryor each got 10%.

Two Dozen Women of TV News, Barbara Walters’ Legacy, Join Her on Her Final ‘View’

WaltersView1

For weeks we’ve been writing about the legacy of Barbara Walters. This afternoon, that legacy came to life in the finale of her final “The View,” taped at ABC’s West Side studios, and airing tomorrow.

TVNewser was there as more than two dozen women TV news anchors packed the stage, each introduced by Oprah Winfrey, among the guests on Walters’ final show. One by one, they greeted a stunned Walters, beginning with Diane Sawyer and continuing with Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Amy Robach, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira; also, Jane Pauley, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Cynthia McFadden, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Juju Chang, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lisa Ling, Tamron Hall, Gretchen Carlson, Connie Chung, Paula Zahn, Deborah Norville, and Joan Lunden.

“I have to remember this on the bad days, because this is the best,” said Walters in the commercial break. “They just kept coming, and coming,” joked Sherri Shepherd. During the first part of the show, to keep it secret, the women hid out in Dr. Oz’s studio across the hall.

The show began with Hillary Clinton as the first guest. She encouraged Walters to take some time off — at least a week. Later, Walters said that’s part of her plan — a trip to Berlin is in the works, someplace she’s never been. Among the VIPs in the crowd, New York Knicks forward J.R. Smith. During another commercial break Walters’ joked to Smith that her retirement plans  include “buying the Clippers!” There are other highlights including a hilarious sketch (if you’re a Cheri Oteri fan, and we are) of Barbara interviewing Barbara.

“You’ll never see this again, folks,” Whoppi Goldberg said as the show wound down. “Only for Barbara.”

(Photos: Chris Ariens)

Was Monica Lewinsky Close to Becoming a Co-Host on ‘The View’?

Barbara Walters continued her busy week last night as a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” but got uncharacteristically tongue-tied on one topic.

“Umm…I won’t tell you what we have done, but, it would have been possible,” Walters said about possibly having Monica Lewinsky as a co-host on the ABC talk show, adding ultimately, she doesn’t think it’s what Lewinsky wanted.

When Letterman pressed the issue, Walters laughingly responded, “I can’t talk,” while seeming to hold back information about previous conversations between the show and Lewinsky.

Walters concluded she thinks it would be great for Lewinsky to be on “The View,” but cautioned Letterman not to expect it. Walters’ 1999 interview with the former White House intern, whose relationship with President Clinton sparked a national firestorm, drew a record 74 million viewers.

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

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