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Posts Tagged ‘Bryant Gumbel’

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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Katie Couric Chooses Bryant Gumbel Over Matt Lauer

Mediabistro was at Wendy Williams‘s studio yesterday where we taped our mediabistroTV series “My First Big Break.” When we got there, Katie Couric happened to be taping a segment with Williams for Couric’s upcoming daytime talk show. The exchange included a sort of “would you rather?” back and forth. At one point, Williams asks Couric who would she rather sleep with: Bryant Gumbel or Matt Lauer. Couric chose Gumbel, because, she says, she feels so close to Lauer it would just be weird. We’re told the shoot is for the debut of “Katie” which premieres Sept. 10. “My First Big Break” with Wendy Williams will launch on mediabistro.com July 26. Read more

What Bryant Gumbel Watches in the Morning. (Hint: It’s Not the Shows He Once Anchored)

When “Good Morning America” recently snapped “Today’s” 16-year winning streak, former “Today” star Bryant Gumbel was underwhelmed.

“I didn’t really have much of a reaction,” says Gumbel, 63, “Today” co-anchor from 1982 to ’97. “[The streak] is a long time, but nothing lasts forever. It’s the nature of the business. I’ve been gone a long time now – 15 years. It’s frightening.”

Gumbel returns to mornings today and tomorrow as guest host on “Live! with Kelly.” Today marks his 24th gig; his second since Regis Philbin stepped down in November. No permanent partner yet for Kelly Ripa.

Why does Gumbel do “Live!” so frequently? “[Executive producer] Michael Gelman is a friend of mine,” he says. “Kelly is a friend of mine. The studio is very close to my house. When they ask, if my schedule allows and I’m not in one of my moods, I say yes.”

Gumbel’s moods are no joke, as many can attest. He describes the above-referenced one as: “Screw the business; I’d rather be in a cave and have nobody see me the rest of my life.” Even when he’s not in a mood, Gumbel characterizes himself as “somewhere between a hermit and a recluse.”

These days, he’s a happy hermit. He’s quietly beaten lung cancer, twice, and prostate cancer. He and his wife, Hilary, are about to celebrate their 10th anniversary. He just became a

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