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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Williams’

Brian Williams on Snowden Interview: ‘We Were Worried About a Number of Things’

WilliamsSnowdenBrian Williams nearly missed his connecting flight from London to Moscow last week on his way to interview Edward Snowden. Williams’s luggage did miss the connection.

The NBC News anchor speaks with the NYTimes’ Bill Carter about his Snowden interview which will air as part of a one-hour special tonight.

“We were worried about a number of things,” Williams tells Carter. “There were competitive concerns. And we didn’t know how much the Russians knew about the reasons for our travel.”

Williams’ luggage arrived not long before Snowden came knocking on his door at the Kempinski Hotel, overlooking Red Square. “Viewers will hear me ask him about a plea bargain. He makes his case.”

“He is blindingly smart. Pay no attention to the fact that he only has a G.E.D. from high school. I joked about how, here we were, two guys with high school degrees, both dropouts from the otherwise great American community college system.”

“No money changed hands,” Williams says. “I think his total compensation was half a chicken sandwich from the room service cart.”

The “Today” show played an excerpt in which the former NSA contractor blames the State Department for stranding him in Russia. “I never intended to end up in Russia. I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in the Moscow Airport,” Snowden says.

Secretary of State John Kerry hit back in a live interview on “Today: “For a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer.” WATCH: Read more

Brian Williams Went Over His High School Graduation Speech With…

WilliamsYou wouldn’t think Brian Williams and Edward Snowden had much time for small talk before taping their exclusive interview in Moscow earlier this week, but apparently Snowden was curious about a green folder in Williams’ hotel room.

“I said I should probably explain what Hillwood High School is,” Williams said during his commencement speech yesterday at the Nashville school, recounting how he explained the folder holding his speech to Snowden.

“To rewind a bit, I am explaining Hillwood High School to Edward Snowden, in a hotel room in Moscow, 32 hours ago,” Williams continued, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Williams told students he explained  everything about the commencement speech, including the video sent by students to lure him to speak, to Snowden before their interview. Williams urged them to watch the interview because Snowden “will play a role in all of your lives, and your country, because of what he’s exposed.”

From Monday to Thursday, Williams flew 11,000 miles from New York, to Moscow, and finally, to Nashville. His interview with Snowden will air Wednesday night as an hour-long NBC News primetime special.

WATCH:

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Brian Williams Interviews Edward Snowden

WilliamsSnowden

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams traveled to Moscow this week for an exclusive interview with Edward Snowden. It’s the former NSA contractor’s first-ever American television interview and it will air as an hour-long NBC News primetime special next Wednesday.

Williams, who anchored Monday’s “Nightly News,” before leaving for Moscow, talked with Snowden for several hours, NBC News says. Snowden, a U.S. Citizen, with a revoked passport, has been living in exile for nearly a year, since leaking classified documents about U.S. surveillance programs to Glenn Greenwald, for the Guardian, and Barton Gellman, of the Washington Post. Those reports won a Pulitzer Prize last month.

Lester Holt, filling in for Brian Williams on Tuesday’s “Nightly News,” said Williams would be back for Wednesday’s show. When he wasn’t — Holt filled in again — that got us wondering where Williams was. Now we know.

And after that 11,000-mile 72-hour trip, Williams turned around and got on a flight to Nashville to honor a commitment to speak at tonight’s Hillwood High School graduation. Williams will anchor “Nightly News” from Nashville.

Evening News Ratings: Week of May 12

EveningNewsNewOnce again, ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” wins the week among younger viewers. Sawyer’s newscast has now won four of the last six weeks in the A25-54 demo, topping “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” for the weeks of April 7, 14, and 28, and now May 12. The gap averaged +83,000 viewers (+4%), but was as wide as +204,000 on Monday and as little as +14,000 viewers on Friday.

“Nightly” still topped “World News” by +830,000 total viewers (+11%), and averaged +1,908,000 (+29%) more viewers than “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.” “Nightly” has won 244 weeks straight in viewers.

All three broadcasts were up big compared to the same week last year. “World News” saw the biggest jump in both viewers (+14%) and the A25-45 demo (+24%). “Evening News” was up +13% in viewers and up +8% in the demo while “Nightly News” was up +12% in viewers and up +4% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of May 12, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,423,000 7,593,000 6,515,000
• A25-54: 1,987,000 2,070,000 1,648,000

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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Evening News Ratings: Week of May 5

EveningNewsNewThe back and forth among younger viewers for their preference in an evening newscast goes back to “Nightly News with Brian Williams.” The NBC newscast topped ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” by +18,000 A25-54 viewers last week. Sawyer had won the younger demo two of the previous three weeks.

Only “Nightly News” showed growth in viewers compared to the same week last year, up less than 1%. “World News” and the “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” were each down -2%. Among younger viewers “Nightly” lost -14% of its audience, while “Evening News” was down -9% and “World News” was down the least, -3% year-over-year.

Season-to-date, “Nightly” is posting its biggest total viewer audience (9.308 million) since the 2005-06 season. Meanwhile, “World News” is seeing its closest A25-54 demo performance with “Nightly” since the 2007-08 season.

Numbers for the week of May 5, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 8,231,000 7,354,000 6,258,000
• A25-54: 1,901,000 1,883,000 1,470,000

NBC News Confuses Kenya and Nigeria in Boko Haram Kidnapping Story

NBC News Boko HaramDuring a report on the Boko Haram kidnapping of 276 teenage girls on “NBC Nightly News” Tuesday, Brian Williams twice said that the abductions took place in Kenya instead of Nigeria.

“Tonight it now feels as if the world is aware and responding to the kidnapping of 276 girls in Kenya three weeks ago today,” Williams said on the broadcast. He went on to reference Kenya a second time during the introduction to Ann Curry‘s report on the kidnapping, which led “Nightly” last night.

Curry — who was on set with Williams — correctly identified the kidnapping as taking place in Nigeria during her report. After it aired, Williams called her report a “scary story out of Nigeria.”

“Brian realized his error right away, corrected it two minutes later and for all subsequent feeds,” a spokesperson for “Nightly” told TVNewser. “He wrote the item in question in the rush before airtime — it was an error borne of haste and he felt terrible about it.”

The mistake has been fixed in the version of “Nightly” that is up on NBC’s website.

Evening News Ratings: Week of April 28

EveningNewsNewFor the third time in four weeks “World News with Diane Sawyer” takes the younger viewer demo. Sawyer edged “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” by just 8,000 viewers in the A25-54 demo. “Nightly” was No. 1 in total viewers — for the 242nd straight week — with a +932,000 lead over the ABC broadcast.

“Nightly” was also up the most in total viewers compared to the same week last year, +14%, while “World News” was up the most in the demo: +20%. “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” which will get a new executive producer in Steve Capus in a few weeks, was also up year-over-year: up +12% in viewers and up +10% in the demo.

Numbers for the week of April 28, 2014:

NBC ABC CBS
• Total Viewers: 9,026,000 8,094,000 6,991,000
• A25-54: 2,136,000 2,144,000 1,727,000

Steve Capus Named Executive Producer of ‘CBS Evening News’

CapusSteve11Former NBC News president Steve Capus is joining CBS News as the executive producer of “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” and executive editor of the news division. He will begin in his new role in July.

Capus was president of NBC News for eight years, from 2005 to 2013. Before that he was executive producer of “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw” and later Brian Williams from May 2001 to June 2005.  At CBS, he replaces Patrica Shevlin who is joining “60 Minutes.”

“The Evening News is an excellent broadcast, and we believe under Steve’s leadership it will get even better,” Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman said in a statement. “He is a real pro with an extraordinary record, and we are fortunate to have him joining us at CBS News.”

Capus will be the third “Evening News” EP in three years. Shevlin oversaw the show when Pelley joined as anchor in 2011. Before that, Rick Kaplan was EP of the show for four years, when it was the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” A few years earlier, Kaplan worked for Capus at NBC News when Kaplan was president of MSNBC. And in a further show of how small the TV news world really is, Kaplan replaced Rome Hartman as EP of “Evening News.” Hartman was later hired by Capus at NBC News to launch “Rock Center.”

Capus will now be competing head-to-head against his friend and former NBC colleague Brian Williams. Capus also produced Williams’ MSNBC show in the late 1990s before moving up the ranks at NBC News.

As Executive Editor Capus joins the CBS News management team “as a resource for colleagues around the Broadcast Center and a strategist on coverage of ongoing stories,” says David Rhodes, CBS News president.

The release and Rhodes’ note are after the jump. Read more

How the Evening Newscasts Reported the New Benghazi Emails

ABCBenghazi“CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” was the only evening newscast last night to not cover newly uncovered emails from White House adviser Ben Rhodes, which provided talking points to former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice before her Sunday show interviews several days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in Sept., 2012.

Rhodes’ email to Rice advised her to stress that the Benghazi attacks were rooted in a controversial YouTube video, “and not a broader failure of policy.”

CBS did cover the emails 10 hours earlier on “CBS This Morning.” White House Correspondent Bill Plante also mentioned that Ben Rhodes is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes. A CBS News spokesperson also says Plante reported the news on CBS News Radio and CBSNews.com, adding, “There also was a thorough editorial discussion about it at ‘CBS Evening News’ and David Rhodes was not involved.”

ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who got into a heated exchange with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over the emails, reported a 2-minute story for “World News with Diane Sawyer,” while “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” produced a :30 voice-over story on the emails.

CBS Evening News has been criticized for not aggressively covering the Benghazi story. Last May, now former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, said “there hasn’t been an appetite” for the stories she offered on Benghazi. CBS launched an internal review after Lara Logan‘s discredited Benghazi report on “60 Minutes” last October. Logan remains off the show.

The new Rhodes emails first hit the Web on Monday published by JudicialWatch.org. The story started getting traction on Fox News on Tuesday and on CNN and MSNBC on Wednesday.

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