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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Iger’

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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Barbara Walters on ‘Paving the Way’ for Women: ‘That’s My Legacy’

DIANE SAWYER, BARBARA WALTERS and ROBIN ROBERTSIt was a celebratory atmosphere tonight at ABC News Headquarters when the network’s Upper West Side New York City building was officially renamed the “Barbara Walters Building.”

“It’s not the interviews with presidents, nor heads of state, nor celebrities, nor even the Sterlings,” Walters said about her career legacy. “I hope that I played a small role in paving the way for so many of you fabulous women who are here tonight,” she continued, adding how pleased she is when women approach her about their achievements. “That’s my legacy” she said to a rousing applause.

Standing beside many ABC News colleagues, including Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, and Lara Spencer; along with Walt Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger, Disney/ABC TV President Ben Sherwood, and ABC News President James Goldston, Walters joked about having a building named after her in a city where Kennedy Airport and the Lincoln Tunnel reside: ”It may not be a landmark, but a couple of pigeons have already staked it out.”

“It makes me feel wonderful,” Walters told TVNewser after the ceremony in response to taglines that say, “she didn’t just report history, she made history.”

“The fact that my career turned out this way, it’s still an amazement to me,” she told us, highlighting her start as a writer at NBC’s “Today” which wasn’t clamoring to “put me on [air].” When she started out in the business, there “were almost none [women in TV news],” Walters told us.

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The Morning Ticker: Velshi Expanding, ‘Today’ Gets SiriusXM, CEOs Score

  • Starting today, Al Jazeera America’s “Real Money with Ali Velshi” will expand to one hour. Velshi says the goal of the program, which airs Monday-Friday at 7pmET, “[I]s to shed a light on the needs of millions of Americans – not only by looking at Washington and policymakers, but by talking to real families and Americans experiencing economic struggles.”

  • SiriusXM and NBC News will launch “Today Show Radio” June 26. The new channel 108 will give SiriusXM listeners across the country access to live audio feeds of the show, including replays. “Today” joins other NBU channels on SiriusXM including CNBC on channel 112, and MSNBC on channel 117.

  • The Wrap is out with its 2013 Compensation Survey. CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves pulled in $66.9 million, a +7.6% gain over 2012. Steve Burke, president and CEO of NBCUniversal, earned $31.1 million, an increase of $4.8 million over the previous year, and Disney CEO Bob Iger took a -14% pay cut, still pulling in $34.3 million.

Barbara Walters to Retire May 16

barbara waltersBarbara Walters‘ final day co-hosting “The View” will be May 16, ABC News announced this morning. Walters, who announced her retirement last year, will also be celebrated that night with a two-hour primetime special highlighting her life and career.

In a statement, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said it is “hard to imagine television without her.”

“In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters,” Iger said. “She’s a dear friend and colleague as well as someone I deeply admire, and it’s impossible to fully convey her impact and influence on television. She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years.”

Walters will continue to executive produce the view and will contribute to ABC News as news warrants. She will talk about her final broadcast on “The View” this morning.

>Update: Video of Walters’ announcement on “The View” is after the jump. Read more

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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Here’s the Reason Behind CNN’s ‘Poaching’ From ABC

ABC-News-Logo-1cnn logo_304x200

The New York Post reports on a Disney shareholder who asked Disney CEO Bob Iger whether his ABC News division is becoming a “training ground” for talent who eventually flee to CNN. Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo, Bill Weir, and John Berman have all left ABC for CNN in the last 18 months. Rachel Nichols also left Disney-owned ESPN for CNN.

One key reason for the departures, which was not mentioned in the NYPost story, is that former ABC News VP of talent and strategy Amy Entelis is now head of talent and content development at CNN. Others who’ve made the move to CNN include SVP Vinnie Malhotra who spent 15 years at ABC and ESPN, and Andrew Morse who also spent 15 years at ABC and is now CNN’s SVP of domestic newsgathering.

Iger is unfazed by the departures, telling shareholders ABC has “a deep bench,” adding “in some cases we were trying to make way for a new generation, a new crop of talent.” The Post reports Iger singled out ABC News reporter David Muir, who is rumored to be a contender to replace Diane Sawyer on “World News.”

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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FBN Busy Bagging Billionaires

Fox Business Network is having a pretty good week in the business booking battle. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn was interviewed by Liz Claman yesterday, with Equity group Investments chairman Sam Zell talking to Neil Cavuto not long after. Today former CBS and Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is talking to Cavuto, while Friday Disney chief Bob Iger will appear on the channel.

To be clear, Icahn and Zell do appear with some frequency on the financial news channels (Karmazin somewhat less so), but having them all in less than 24 hours is somewhat notable. Icahn was on CNBC and Bloomberg TV just a few weeks ago, while Zell made the rounds a few months back. Icahn, you may recall, was at the center of a “Billionaire Brawl” that started on CNBC in January. Amazingly, that on-air fight between Bill Ackman and Icahn is still playing out today, as is clear in the FBN interview.

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Moguls, Journalists Descend On Sun Valley For Media/Technology Confab

This week, the world’s media, entertainment and technology moguls are converging on Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual Allen & Company shindig. What happens in Sun Valley usually stays in Sun Valley, but according to a number of reporters in attendance, we can glean a few things.

For starters, CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw and CNN’s Erin Burnett are all attending, with Rose and Brokaw scheduled to moderate (secret) panels. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, FBN’s Dennis Kneale and Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman are getting as close as they can to cover the action for their networks.

In terms of moguls, all the usual suspects are there: 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, along with sons Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch (above), Disney’s Bob Iger, ESPN’s John Skipper, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, CBS’ Les Moonves, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IAC’s Barry Diller among many, many others.

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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

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