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Posts Tagged ‘Bryant Gumbel’

Why Nate Silver is Such a Hot Commodity

Nate Silver’s migration from the New York Times to ESPN represents more than a new URL – it augurs a sea change in the news business itself, experts say.

Silver’s acclaimed political blog, fivethirtyeight, will expand to sports, weather and entertainment, among other areas, as part of its analytics-driven venue at espn.com, he told reporters yesterday in a conference call.

Though the focus at this point is the blog, expect to see Silver on ESPN and ABC News, especially at election season. Regardless, the blog itself has the muscle to alter the paradigm in news reportage, says Jane Hall, an associate professor in American University’s School of Communication.

“The new buzzwords in the future of journalism are ‘data driven’ and ‘visualization of data,’” Hall says. “Silver brought tremendous credibility and proved himself with his political blog. To branch out to other areas could be very exciting.

“You can do a lot of analysis of data that is credible, if you do it right. A new paradigm could be a very good thing, but I still believe in shoe-leather reporting. You still need to talk to people, face to face, to see what’s on their minds.”

Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy – and a loyal Timesman – says Silver’s methodology will become a trend because “he’s not the only genius in the world. There will be a lot of people trying to out-Nate Nate.”

Using metrics for weather is a great thing, Jones says, but applying it to sports would be “depressing. If you knew, at the beginning of the season, that the Yankees would lose, it takes away the mystery, the uncertainty.”

Moreover, if Silver, a former baseball numbers wonk, is as accurate with sports prognosticating as he is with politics, “he’ll make it impossible for bookies to make a living,” Jones warns. “People will be less likely to make stupid bets.”

Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s “Real Sports,” isn’t convinced that Silver, whom he labels as “a smart guy with a lot of talent,” will be an actual handicapper.

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Soledad O’Brien Named Special Correspondent For Al Jazeera America

As TVNewser first reported was in the works last week, Al Jazeera America has signed former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien to a development deal, and will feature her as a “special correspondent” for its primetime newsmagazine, “America Tonight.”

O’Brien’s company, Starfish Media Group, will produce longform documentary specials for AJAM when the channel launches in August, with O’Brien appearing on-air for shorter-form reports on AJAM’s newsmagazine.

“I look forward to beginning a relationship with Al Jazeera America, which has made a commitment to producing quality programming and pursuing underreported stories,” O’Brien said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be back in business with Kim Bondy, who is a long-time friend and among the finest journalists in the broadcast news business today. With this agreement, Starfish continues its expansion as a cross-platform media company dedicated to compelling storytelling and enterprise journalism.”

The deal with AJAM gives O’Brien three development deals since she signed off from CNN’s “Starting Point” at the end of March. She has a “first-look” deal with CNN (ncluding for the “In America” series) and HBO (which includes scripted fare), and appears on-air for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

AJAM continues to staff up with talent even as it lacks a chief executive to run the day-to-day operations of the channel. We hear that a decision on who that person may be is imminent, and could happen as soon as this week.

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Soledad O’Brien To Make ‘Real Sports’ Debut Tuesday

On Tuesday, HBO will debut the new season of ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

It will also mark the show’s debut of former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien. O’Brien first report for “Real Sports” is called “The Fight Club,” and profiles an Iraq war veteran who organized a club to help veterans with PTSD alleviate their issues through mixed martial arts.

O’Brien also explained what she is looking for in her stories in a “Real Sports” video interview.

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Soledad O’Brien, The Brand

For former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” is something of a reunion. A former low level staffer at NBC News, O’Brien recalls producing segments with then “Today” anchor Gumbel.

“I was terrified,” O’Brien tells TVNewser. “[Gumbel] was one of the smartest and best interviewers in the business, and it was kind of an overwhelming prospect to be in his space.”

Now O’Brien will be on-air contributing to Gumbel’s HBO program, widely regarded as one of the best sports journalism programs on television. O’Brien will join a correspondent team that includes Mary Carillo, Bernard Goldberg and Andrea Kramer.

“I will do what I do, interviews, and to really tell stories, more about the human struggle to overcome something, to get through something,” O’Brien says of her “Real Sports” role. “It is longer form, but for me it is often under-told stories about the human condition.”

Her deal with HBO also includes a “first look” clause, giving the pay cabler first dibs on scripted programming and “long-form programming concepts” from O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group. HBO is known for taking real stories and turning them into dramatic films, most recently with the critically-acclaimed Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra,” and also for “Game Change.”
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Soledad O’Brien Joins HBO’s ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien is joining the team at HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” HBO Sports says.

In addition, HBO has signed a “first look” deal with O’Brien’s production company Starfish Media Group, giving it the first crack at scripted projects and “long form programming concepts” that they develop.

O’Brien has a similar first look deal with CNN for doc series, such as the “In America” series. The deal with HBO actually keeps O’Brien in the Turner Broadcasting family, as HBO and CNN are sister networks under the Turner Broadcasting umbrella, which is owned by Time Warner. HBO docs and series are occasionally replayed on CNN.

“Soledad is a perfect fit for ‘Real Sports,’” said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman in a statement. “She’s an extraordinary interviewer and storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be able to add her to a franchise where the emphasis is on finding and presenting thought-provoking stories in the diverse and ever-fascinating world of sports.”

More information after the jump.
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Retiring ‘Fox News Sunday’ EP Marty Ryan On The Evolution Of Fox News

On Sunday, “Fox News Sunday” executive producer Marty Ryan oversaw his last edition of the public affairs program. Ryan, a former senior producer and executive producer of NBC’s “Today,” and a longtime senior member of Fox News Channel”s DC leadership, is retiring from the channel. 

“Maybe they will call me back at some point and ask if this old guy wants to do something else,” he quips.

Ryan helped launch the Sunday public affairs show in 1996, before Fox News Channel even officially launched.

“I was telling our staff, when I first walked into our bureau here, there really was nothing,” Ryan says. “There was no chairs, no lamps, tables dangling from ceilings from when the prior tenant had left the facility, so we literally had to build—from scratch—a world class network news bureau.

“Where we were a startup before, we are now a mature news organization, but we still have the mindset of a startup, which I think is good and makes us healthy,” he added.

At “Today,” Ryan worked closely with household names like Bryant Gumbel, Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw. When asked about some of the more memorable events that he has covered in his career, a major event across the pond came to mind.

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The Ticker: ‘Real Sports,’ Weather, O’Donnell

  • Not content to simply name winter storms, The Weather Channel is launching a Winter Storm Index called “Storm: Con,” which will grade winter storms on severity in a 1-10 scale. 1-5 aren’t too bad, but if a 6-10 is coming… watch out.

The Ticker: Burns, Strahan, Trends

  • “Real Sports” returns Tuesday on HBO. Bryant Gumbel profiles Michael Strahan and takes HBO cameras behind the scenes of his new gig as co-host of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael.”

  • CNN is rolling out CNN Trends, a news discovery dashboard powered by CNN-owned Zite. Lost Remote found it’s the best example yet of a TV news outlet uncovering and presenting what people are talking about on social media.

CBS News, Showtime To Launch ’60 Minutes of Sports’ Newsmagazine

CBS News and sister pay cable network Showtime are partnering on a new sports newsmagazine, “60 Minutes of Sports.” The program will air on Showtime, greatly bolstering the pay cabler’s sports news output.

The program will debut in November, with new editions airing monthly. Each episode will feature two new, original segments, one updated classic “60 Minutes” segment as well as a timely in-studio newsmaker interview. Correspondents from both “60 Minutes” and CBS Sports will participate in the program.

“This is an exciting opportunity for all of us at 60 Minutes,” said CBS News chairman and “60 Minutes” EP Jeff Fager, who will also EP the new program. “Our Showtime edition will offer the same high-quality, original reporting and great storytelling our viewers have come to expect every Sunday night on CBS.”

While Showtime has extensive sports programming, it has lacked a sports newmsazgine to call its own. HBO has been the longtime home of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” which routinely receives accolades for its strong reporting, while ESPN has “E:60.”

More information, below.

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Jeff Daniels Talks About Who His ‘Newsroom’ Character is Based On: ‘Sorry Keith, no one’

Last night HBO held a premiere screening and party for its upcoming series “The Newsroom.” It was a smaller screening than normal for HBO, though the stars still seemed to come out.

TVNewser hears that among the attendees were NBC’s Brian Williams, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CNN’s Piers Morgan and CBS’ Charlie Rose and Erica Hill.

This morning, ABC’s “Good Morning America” interviewed the series’ star, Jeff Daniels, who plays anchor Will McAvoy. Stephanopoulos asked Daniels whether the series was based on former MSNBC and Current TV host Keith Olbermann:

“No one, sorry Keith, no one. We really decided, let’s create someone completely fictional, and just drop them in the middle of all the guys who exist that we know today,” Daniels said. “Aaron never said ‘by the way, this is based on so and so.’”

“Aaron will tell you that it is a romantic view of what cable news should be, or should strive to be,” Daniels added.

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