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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Epstein’

A Comedian, a Governor and a Network Morning Anchor Walk Into a Bar To Toast a Cable News Host…

Last night at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, MSNBC threw a party for “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, whose book Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero was released yesterday. Despite the chill outside, the rooftop terrace at the hotel was filled to the brim, with friends, family and admirers of Matthews.

Among the guests were former CBS News anchor Dan Rather (who led the crowd in a round of “hip hip, hooray!” for Matthews), PBS host and rumored CBS morning candidate Charlie Rose, NBC “Today” anchor Ann Curry, MSNBC anchors Willie Geist and Tamron Hall and former New York Governor George Pataki, whose presence Matthews used to generate a laugh line:

“Governor George Pataki is here, proving the bipartisan nature of all MSNBC activities,”  Matthews quipped. “He is here to lean forward, lean forward like the rest of us, ha!”

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Jon Banner Moves Off of ‘ABC World News’ to Division-Wide Role, Michael Corn Named EP


After eight years at the helm of “ABC World News,” Jon Banner will be moving off of the program to a division-wide role. Banner will become senior EP of division wide initiatives, where he will have oversight over many of the networks special projects. He will also continue to oversee ABC’s political coverage. Banner first joined ABC news as a desk assistant in 1989.

“For years, Jon has been one of the rocks of ABC News, helping to hold the division together during the twin traumas of Peter’s death and Bob’s wounding in Iraq,” write ABC News president Ben Sherwood in a memo to staff.

In his place at “World News,” Michael Corn will become EP. Corn had been senior producer on the broadcast.


“I came to know Michael well during my tenure at Good Morning America – we worked closely at all hours of the day and night – and I am confident that his energy, creativity, competitive zeal and news judgment will lead the program to new heights,” Sherwood wrote.

With Banner’s departure, all three network evening newscasts will end the year with different executive producers than they had when they began the year. In July, Bob Epstein left “NBC Nightly News” to an executive role, while Rick Kaplan left CBS News in May following Katie Couric‘s departure.

Sherwood’s full memo is 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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Bob Epstein Moves off ‘Nightly News,’ Named VP of NBC Specials; Pat Burkey to be named EP of ‘Nightly’

Bob Epstein, who has been executive producer of “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” for the last two-and-a-half years is moving to the NBC News specials unit as VP.

TVNewser has learned longtime NBC News producer Pat Burkey will be named EP of the show. An announcement could come as early as tomorrow.

Epstein, a former EP in the early days of MSNBC and later EP of Weekend “Nightly News” joins Mark Lukasiewicz, who has been promoted to Senior Vice President of NBC News specials.

Burkey is also a longtime NBC News employee, having been a senior producer on Williams’s MSNBC show “The News with Brian Williams.”

Currently, Burkey has oversight of Weekend “Today” and Weekend “Nightly News.”

Epstein leaves “Nightly” as he inherited it, as the #1 evening newscast.

> More: Internal email from Epstein to his staff, after the jump…

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Network Rivals Come Together for Common Cause

ABC, CNN and CBS news executives all headed to NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters yesterday to discuss the safety and well-being of freelance journalists who increasingly serve the network news divisions worldwide.

NBC News president Steve Capus — the dean of network news executives — invited his colleagues, from ABC News, Ben Sherwood, CBS News’s David Rhodes and CNN’s Bart Feder to the gathering.

NBC’s Brian Williams wrote on his blog yesterday, “Because competition stops at the water’s edge, and because some things — like the safety of journalists — are more important, I’m proud to say we hosted a great luncheon here.”

The presentation was by Tina Carr the director of the Rory Peck Trust, an organization named in memory of Rory Peck, a New York-born freelance cameraman, killed in Moscow in 1995.

Other attendees included, Jeffrey Schneider of ABC, Barbara Levin of CNN; NBC News EPs Jim Bell and Bob Epstein, MSNBC president Phil Griffin and NBC News execs Alex Wallace, David Verdi, Cheryl Gould, Chris Hampson, Stacy Brady and Lauren Kapp. Fox News was invited to, but did not participate in the luncheon.

Jamie Kraft Jumps from CNN to NBC

Jamie Kraft is leaving CNN and will join “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” as Senior Broadcast Producer.  Kraft is leaving his job as Executive Producer of “American Morning” which he has overseen for the last two years.

For “Nightly” he will oversee day of air production. The announcement was made by “Nightly News” EP Bob Epstein. Before “American Morning” Kraft was a producer on “Anderson Cooper 360,” and before that he worked at CBS News for more than 13 years on programs including “60 Minutes,” the “CBS Evening News,” and “48 Hours.”

Kraft’s hire at NBC is not the only change coming to “Nightly News.”

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‘Nightly News’ 14 Years at #1

They may not be in growth mode, but 21 million people still tune in every night to watch one of the three network newscasts. And for the 14th season in a row, most Americans chose “NBC Nightly News.” Show EP Bob Epstein sent an email to his staff this afternoon about the win:

Thank you for all of your hard work, for making this the best newscast in America, and the best news division to work with.

Full note after the jump…

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Gulf Oil Spill a ‘Seminal Moment’ For News Orgs

anderson_6-1.jpg With the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico still spewing and not showing signs of slowing down, news organizations are committing their resources to continuing to cover the story.

Broadcasting & Cable’s Marisa Guthrie spoke to a number of news executives, producers and corespondents, all of whom say they will be committed to covering the story… even when the news cycle has moved on (Supreme Court nomination hearings anyone?)

“I don’t think we’re going to have Gulf fatigue in the next three or four weeks,” says Bob Epstein, executive producer of NBC Nightly News. “It’s only getting worse.”

One of the things that could keep the story in the news cycle is the relatively low cost of covering it. Unlike the earthquake in Haiti, which cost news divisions millions in transportation and logistics, covering the oil spill is a lower-cost affair. Guthrie notes that “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams did his part by flying all-coach airline JetBlue.

The cost factor is particularly important for the broadcast news divisions, which have been hit hard by the economic downturn.

“This is one of those seminal moments when a network news division proves its worth,” says Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. “This is it.”

CBS News is backing up its words with action. The network announced today that the “CBS Evening News” and “The Early Show” will be anchored from the Gulf region weekly, and “will continue for the duration of the crisis.”

“The oil spill in the Gulf will continue to be a major story for the foreseeable future,” said CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus in a statement. “Our commitment to anchor live from there at least once a week reflects the importance of the story.”

The CBS News press release is after the jump.

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Rome Hartman Crowned TVNewser EP Bracket Challenge Winner

bossofbosseshartman_4-5.jpgThree weeks ago, we challenged executive producers from all the news networks to take part in our NCAA basketball tournament bracket challenge.

At the time, “BBC World News America” EP Rome Hartman told us that he was “constitutionally incapable of picking against Duke even if my head tells me not to.” As one of his staffers put it, “there rests the fate of BBC World News America pride.”

After nearly everyone lost their champion pick, Kansas, in the first few days, the competition remained tight. David Friedman (“The Early Show”) led for much of the way, until David Tabacoff (“The O’Reilly Factor”) took the lead.

While Hartman was out of the top five for most of the tourney, his stubbornness about sticking with his alma mater ended up launching him to first pace when all was said and done, which means he’s officially crowned the 2010 Boss of All Bosses champ. Congratulations, sir.

MSNBC’s Chris Licht (“Morning Joe”) is the first runner up followed by Tabacoff, Amy Sohnen (“O’Reilly Factor”) and a three-way tie for fifth between Bob Epstein (“NBC Nightly News”), Kim Rosenberg (“FOX Report”), and your TVNewser editor.

Here’s Hartman’s winning bracket and check out the full standings after the jump.

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