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Posts Tagged ‘Bryant Gumbel’

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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Bryant Gumbel Returning to The Mornings

Former NBC “Today” and CBS “Early Show” anchor Bryant Gumbel is returning to the mornings the week of June 4. Gumbel will be the guest co-host of ABC’s syndicated program “Live! with Kelly” on Monday, June 4 and Tuesday, June 5.

Gumbel, who anchors “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on HBO, was one of “Today”‘s longest-serving anchors, and helped launch a revamped version of “The Early Show” back in 1999.

The other guest co-hosts on “Live!” that week are actor Neil Patrick Harris and “Saturday Night Live’”s Andy Samberg.

‘Good Morning America’ Breaks ‘Today’ Show’s 16-Year Winning Streak

With final Nielsen numbers now out, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has topped NBC’s “Today” for the first time in more than 16 years. The win was projected Monday with the release of Friday’s preliminary numbers. In the end, “GMA” widened the win by a still-slim 31,000 viewers. “Today” continues the winning streak in A25-54 viewers to 885 weeks (longer than the Total Viewer streak had been). “Today” had 257,000 more younger demo viewers than “GMA.”

Rightly, ABC News president Ben Sherwood is taking a victory lap: “All of us at ABC News salute the dynamic team at ‘Good Morning America’ who never sleep and who care so deeply about the program.”

Of course, we congratulate our friends at “Today” for the greatest winning streak in broadcasting history and for their excellence and leadership during this historic run. It’s a special day for ABC News and, after a proper celebration 852 weeks in the making, we’ll get right back to work to be ready tomorrow to help “GMA” viewers start their day with a rewarding experience and big picture understanding of the world.

After Monday’s projected win, “Today” show executive producer Jim Bell commented that the “852-week winning streak had taken on a life of its own and as odd as it is to see it end, we should acknowledge just how remarkable it has been.”

So as we tip our caps to the team at “Good Morning America,” we can also take a bow ourselves and recognize the work done by countless staffers for so long. It is not an overstatement to call it one of the most incredible achievements in television history, one that is not likely to ever happen again. While the streak has been wonderful affirmation of our work, it has never defined us, and we will continue to innovate, take chances and lead the way.

On Monday, December 11, 1995, the “Today” show reported on a snowstorm in Buffalo, U.S. Marines arriving in Bosnia, Michael Jackson‘s collapse during an on-stage rehearsal, and the possibility of MSN and NBC starting a 24-hour cable news channel. That was also the day the show began its run as the #1 morning show on TV. Jeff Zucker was three years into his run as EP of the show, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric were co-anchors and Matt Lauer was the newsreader

Compared to the same week last year only “GMA” showed growth: +7% in both Total Viewers and younger viewers. With Matt Lauer on vacation, “Today” was down -9% in Total Viewers and down -13% in younger viewers. While “CBS This Morning” also continues a downward trend from the “Early Show” of last year: down -6% and down -3%

The averages for the week of April 9:

  • Total Viewers: NBC: 5.14M / ABC: 5.17M / CBS: 2.51M
  • A25-54 viewers: NBC: 2.23M / ABC: 1.97M / CBS: 994K

‘Good Morning America’ Poised to Break ‘Today’ Show’s 16-year Win Streak

With the overnight ratings for Friday’s show just released, ABC’s “Good Morning America” appears to have won an entire week in the ratings — a feat which has not been accomplished in 852 weeks, since Dec., 1995 when Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric were the “Today” anchors.

On Friday, “GMA” had a 333,000 total viewer lead on “Today,” enough to put it over the top for the week winning by just 13,000 viewers.

Last week was seen as the week “GMA” could have toppled “Today” for a couple reasons: “GMA” has been gaining ground, and last week, “Today” anchor Matt Lauer was on vacation while the full “GMA” team was in place. As of Thursday’s show, “Today” had a +63,000 lead, but with “GMA’s” big win Wednesday (+366,000) and then Friday, that was enough. These are preliminary projections with final Nielsen numbers out Thursday morning.

“Everybody’s thrilled and cautiously optimistic that this holds up for the final numbers on Thursday,” an ABC insider tells TVNewser.

Here are the total viewer gaps, showing “Today’s” lead, for the last few weeks:

  • April 9: -13,000

What’s For Breakfast TV? Stunts & Celebrities and ‘Journalism Suffers’

The TV critics are assessing last week’s morning show stunts.

“Television news now feasts on fame, the gaudier the better, with journalistic credentials a mere afterthought,” writes Newsweek/Daily Beast’s Howie Kurtz, who talked to two former “Today” show hosts about last week’s ratings grabbers — including Sarah Palin co-hosting last Tuesday — a response to Katie Couric‘s fill-in on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The star-making machinery has changed. When Today tapped Jane Pauley in 1976, she says, “I was 25 years old, four years out of college. I was extremely unknown.” Today alumnus Bryant Gumbel, who says he was “embarrassed” by the Palin stint, believes hosts “used to be judged not just on their popularity level but the extent to which they were capable of interviewing someone or reporting on a situation, or able to have a degree of gravitas. Now that is secondary to being popular.”

The New York Times’ Bill Carter and Brian Stelter sum up the week and the ongoing horse race between “Today” and “GMA,” revealing Katie Couric could return to ABC’s mornings:

Senior ABC staff members characterized NBC’s stunt bookings as desperate. But those at NBC suggested that ABC’s use of Ms. Couric, who left ‘Today’ in 2006, and the overall win-at-all-costs approach showed desperation. [GMA Senior EP Tom] Cibrowski disputed that and said Ms. Couric could fill in again in the future, perhaps when Mr. Stephanopoulos takes a vacation.

As of Thursday’s ratings, “Today” was holding off the hard-charging “GMA.” We’ll have Friday’s Fast National numbers this afternoon, and final weekly ratings for last week on Thursday.

While Katie Couric Sits in on ‘GMA,’ A Legend Returns To ‘Today’

The “Today”show isn’t letting Katie Couric‘s return to morning TV go unchallenged. In the ultimate of TV teases, the network began running promos today about a secret guest who will appear Monday — “for one show only” — the same day Couric begins a week of fill-in co-hosting on cross-town and cross-country rival “Good Morning America.” And as teases go, the promo gave no hint about who it might be. Gene Shalit? Bryant Gumbel? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

On tonight’s “Nightly News” Lester Holt also promoted a Tuesday visit to “Today” by Sarah Palin.

James Brown On His CBS News Role: ‘I would like to think there will be no limits’

CBS Sports anchor James Brown is no stranger to television news. He has filled in on “The Early Show,” and his 2009 interview with Michael Vick for “60 Minutes” drew accolades. Now, CBS has formalized the partnership, signing Brown as a special correspondent. He starts tomorrow, filling in as an anchor on “CBS This Morning”‘s Saturday edition.

“I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I am excited and humbled that a division as synonymous with news excellence would welcome me into the fold as a special correspondent,” Brown told TVNewser.

While he is best known for his sports reporting, be it on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” or “60 Minutes,” Brown says that he does not want to restrict himself to any particular type of news.

“I would like to think there will be no limits, having done something akin to news for a number of years leading up to this. I hosted a program called ‘America’s Black Forum’ which was like an African-American version of ‘Meet the Press’ in syndication for a number of years,” Brown says. “I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a correspondent for ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,’ which is one of the best shows on television be it sports or general news, so that certainly gave me a comfort level because we would do long-form pieces on a range of topics that just happened to have sports as the backdrop.”

In past interviews Brown has expressed an interest in anchoring the “CBS Evening News.” When asked whether he would still like to pinch-hit on that program, Brown said yes, but that it isn’t a priority.

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Reuniting Anchors and Reliving 60 Years of Today

This morning “Today” dedicated most of its broadcast to its 60th anniversary celebration, kicking off with an introduction from Matt Lauer:

The program featured congratulations — and a proclamation — from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President and First Lady Michelle Obama and a cadre of celebrities (Tom Hanks delivered the birthday cake), along with a number of retrospective packages, such as this one:

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How Barbara Walters Woke up Today: ‘That’s my legacy. I’m very proud of it.’

Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs pose in the "Today" photo booth during the show's 60th Anniversary broadcast this morning.

Barbara Walters’ retirement timetable is none of our business.

“I know when I’m going to do it, and I’m fine about it,” says ABC’s Walters, 82. “When I leave, I’m not going to go do something else or go tackle something else. I have a wonderful, full private life. I will be just fine.”

Got that?

“The fact is, I’m still working, I feel great and I’m still doing very important stories,” she adds. “It’s been one of my busiest years. I’m on ‘The View’ three times a week, I went to Syria, I interviewed the Obamas before Christmas.”

The first female co-host of ‘Today,’ Walters returns to her former digs this morning as part of the show’s 60th anniversary celebration. She’ll be joined by fellow alums Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley and Hugh Downs, among others.

Breaking into the boys club of ‘Today’ hosts was no easy task for Walters in 1974. She had to do it over Frank McGee’s dead body. Literally.

The backstory: McGee had refused to do joint news interviews with Walters, who had sweated her way up from ‘Today Girl’ to reporter. For the veteran newsman, working with a woman “was a humiliation,” according to Walters, and ‘Today’ represented “a demotion.”

In the mindset of that era, TV-women “were supposed to do fashion shows and celebrities,” explains Walters. “When NBC hired me [as a writer-researcher in 1961], I wasn’t an actor or a model and I didn’t sing. It was a huge breakthrough just to put me on.”

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