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Posts Tagged ‘Connie Chung’

The ‘Subliminal Message’ Behind David Muir’s Ascent to ‘World News’ Anchor

david muirCome September, three white men will anchor the three network evening newscasts. Is it 2005 — or 1975 — all over again? Some think so.

“The evening news anchors are the face of the network,” says Karen Turner, an associate professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, whose research focuses on race in the news. “In this growing multicultural nation, it’s unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks.”

Brian Williams, 55, has been anchor of “NBC Nighty News” since 2004, he took over for Tom Brokaw who had been anchor since 1982, and John Chancellor before that. Scott Pelley, who turns 57 next month, has been at the helm of “CBS Evening News” since May, 2011. That broadcast was anchored by Katie Couric for the previous 5 years, and by Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather (briefly paired with Connie Chung) and Walter Cronkite in earlier years.

Muir, 40, takes over for Diane Sawyer who has been anchor since 2009. Sawyer came in following the retirement of Charles Gibson who, in 2006, succeeded the anchor team of Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas. The Woodfuff-Vargas pairing lasted only a few weeks following the serious injuries sustained by Woodruff in an attack in Iraq.

“Certainly Pelley, Williams and now Muir are accomplished journalists,” Turner adds. “However, the subliminal message this sends is these — white males — are the legitimate faces that should represent America.”

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Two Dozen Women of TV News, Barbara Walters’ Legacy, Join Her on Her Final ‘View’

WaltersView1

For weeks we’ve been writing about the legacy of Barbara Walters. This afternoon, that legacy came to life in the finale of her final “The View,” taped at ABC’s West Side studios, and airing tomorrow.

TVNewser was there as more than two dozen women TV news anchors packed the stage, each introduced by Oprah Winfrey, among the guests on Walters’ final show. One by one, they greeted a stunned Walters, beginning with Diane Sawyer and continuing with Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Amy Robach, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira; also, Jane Pauley, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Cynthia McFadden, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Juju Chang, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lisa Ling, Tamron Hall, Gretchen Carlson, Connie Chung, Paula Zahn, Deborah Norville, and Joan Lunden.

“I have to remember this on the bad days, because this is the best,” said Walters in the commercial break. “They just kept coming, and coming,” joked Sherri Shepherd. During the first part of the show, to keep it secret, the women hid out in Dr. Oz’s studio across the hall.

The show began with Hillary Clinton as the first guest. She encouraged Walters to take some time off — at least a week. Later, Walters said that’s part of her plan — a trip to Berlin is in the works, someplace she’s never been. Among the VIPs in the crowd, New York Knicks forward J.R. Smith. During another commercial break Walters’ joked to Smith that her retirement plans  include “buying the Clippers!” There are other highlights including a hilarious sketch (if you’re a Cheri Oteri fan, and we are) of Barbara interviewing Barbara.

“You’ll never see this again, folks,” Whoppi Goldberg said as the show wound down. “Only for Barbara.”

(Photos: Chris Ariens)

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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Connie Chung Recalls Workplace Sexism During ‘Anchorman’ Era

katie couric anchormanOn a recent episode of “Katie” about “Anchorman 2,” Katie Couric talked with Sam Donaldson and Connie Chung about workplace sexism.

“Ron Burgundy, I have worked with you for 35, 40 years,” Chung said to Will Ferrell. “Every single guy I worked with was just like you — and I have so enjoyed despising you.” Chung described the men as “egotistical” and “self-absorbed.”

When Donaldson pointed out that “Walter Cronkite is turning over his grave,” Chung said Cronkite was different — “and you weren’t, because I didn’t really work directly with you,” she assured Donaldson. Couric said she experienced it, too, although both she and Chung declined to name names.

Huffington Post Media has the video.

What Didn’t Get Much Attention During the Ann Curry ‘Today’ Show Split

In the run-up and aftermath of Ann Curry’s messy break with the “Today” show, there was one matter that didn’t get much attention: that television’s most prominent Asian-American news anchor lost a plum spot on the national stage.

During Curry’s tearful goodbye June 28, she reflected on her role as role model: “For all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line, but man, I did try.”

For many young Asian-American journalists, anchors like Curry, and Connie Chung before her, have been “inspiring”, says Doris Truong, National President of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).  “Their success is our success,” says Truong, who likens community pride for Curry and Chung to that felt for pro basketball’s Jeremy Lin earlier this year.

“Ann Curry was, and is, a role model for young Asian-American journalists,” says former CNN anchor Carol Lin, now a lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Lin says Curry “played a role in breaking through the glass ceiling…[and then]  grew into a world when social media really demands that it’s less about the personality, more about the quality of the story.”

With viewers, and the media, focusing debate on Curry’s personality and abilities – rather than on her ethnicity – Lin says it begs a central question: “Are we beyond the question of race, and a

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50 Years Ago Today, Walter Cronkite Signed On

Hard to imagine, but there have only been five anchors of the “CBS Evening News” (six if you count the pairing of Dan Rather and Connie Chung). And it was 50 years ago today, that the original went on the air. “Walter Cronkite with the News” debuted on April 16, 1962 as a 15-minute newscast.

As Bob Schieffer explained on “Face the Nation” Sunday, the show expanded to a half hour in 1963 and became known as the “CBS Evening News.”

“Over the years, I have been asked many times, ‘what was he really like?’” said Schieffer who anchored “Evening News” in 2005-2006. “I always reply, ‘he was off camera exactly the way he was on camera.’ There are not many of those, but he was just the way you would want him to be.”

TV, Wall Street Bigwigs Fete Erin Burnett at CNN Launch Party

Mark Whitaker, Jim Walton, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan and Ken Jautz

Last night CNN feted its newest anchor, Erin Burnett, at Robert restaurant at The Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle, just a few hundred feet from CNN’s NYC headquarters. Overlooking Columbus Circle and the southwest corner of Central Park, guests watched the city fade into night, while clips of Burnett preparing for her show played on a loop on TV sets spread throughout the space.

Just after 7:30 PM, CNN/U.S. executive VP Ken Jautz and CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker made some brief remarks. Jautz commented that Burnett is extremely passionate about news, and that anyone expecting a curt reply when asking her what she is working on is in for a long conversation.

Burnett then addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support. Her manager John Ferriter was in attendance, as was her fiancee David Rubulotta. Jautz and Whitaker got shout-outs, as did CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton and CNN ad sales chief Greg D’alba, both of whom were working the room.

The party also drew a packed room of boldface names:

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Connie Chung: ‘The times just aren’t right for network anchors anymore’

Soon-to-be-former ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor Katie Couric will be a smash in syndication, Maury Povich and Connie Chung predict.

“Of everybody, Katie has the best chance, not of replacing Oprah, but of getting Oprah’s audience to give her a good, long look,” says Povich, a syndicated heavyweight for two decades. “She has a great personality for daytime television.”

“She’ll be good. In fact, she’ll be great,” says Chung, co-anchor, with Dan Rather, of ‘CBS Evening News’ from 1993 to ’95, and Povich’s wife. “Even though she’s never done a talk show, I guarantee you she knows how to do an hour.”

Couric’s five-year contract is up June 4. CBS, which reportedly has offered a deal that includes syndication and a continued presence in news, is said to have the inside track.

To Povich, a self-described “scrappy 72,” the key to Couric’s success in syndication will be in her displaying “all her vulnerabilities.”

“You have to say to your audience, ‘Look, we’re imperfect human beings.’ That’s why they can relate to you. Once Katie gets the ‘news anchor’ tag off herself, where she’s inhibited in so many ways, she can just be Katie. That’s all she has to do.”

“Just being Katie” didn’t pry “CBS Evening News” out of third place. Still, that does not mean she’s a failure, according to Chung, 64, who is not unfamiliar with the F-word. Her forced on-air marriage to Rather (left) was, from the beginning, an ugly divorce waiting to happen.

“The times just aren’t right for network anchors anymore,” she says. With Big 3 newscasts hemorrhaging viewers, “what can

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Campbell Brown’s Time at CNN Coming to a Close

brown_6-24.jpgIn a Q&A with The Wrap’s Dylan Stableford, CNN/US President Jon Klein confirms that anchor Campbell Brown will be “hosting her show until the end of July.” A CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser no firm date has been scheduled.

Brown’s departure comes as CNN has announced her eventual replacement, a new debate program with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and columnist Kathleen Parker. In The Wrap interview, Klein was asked about the network’s change in stance on “opinion-based programming:”

We’ve never resisted opinion. If you’ve watched our election programming, we’ve quite famously had a wide range of opinions on those shows. What we have resisted is having our anchors insert their personal points of view for an hour and shoving them down people’s throats. What we want to do here is facilitate lively, smart discussion, with multiple points of view. It’s not that we’re suddenly endorsing one side or another. This country already has a super-conservative network and super-liberal network.

Klein says he had been evaluating the new duo over the last two months, reading Parker’s columns and seeing Spitzer “on various shows,” which indicates that Spitzer’s recent stints at MSNBC played a part in landing him the CNN job. Klein also said that replacing Larry King “is not a priority” at the moment.

The NY Post today quotes a number of unnamed CNNers who say they are dismayed with the new hires and the reflection on the network’s brand. Former CNN 8pm host Connie Chung tells The Post, “It’s sadly comical… and this is terribly disillusioning. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will give you more solid journalism than this program could possibly give.”

> Interesting: It was roughly three years ago — July 26th, 2007 — that Campbell Brown and Jon Klein announced that Brown would be the host of a new evening show on CNN.

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Diane Sawyer to Anchor ‘World News’: ‘Another Nail in the Coffin of the Old Boys’ Network’

GibsonSawyer_9.3.jpgAnyone predicting a Diane SawyerKatie Couric “cat fight” come January “needs to get a life,” says Connie Chung.

“It’s a chauvinistic question,” explains Chung, 63, Dan Rather‘s co-anchor on “CBS Evening News” for about a minute and a half in the early ’90s. “The question should be, ‘How will Diane do against Brian [Williams] and Katie?’”

“Good Morning America’s” Sawyer, 63, will replace retirement-bound Charlie Gibson, 66, as anchor of “ABC World News” beginning in January, ABC announced yesterday. She’ll take on Williams’ No. 1 “NBC Nightly News” and Couric’s No. 3 “CBS Evening News.”

Wonder if Couric’s executive producer, Rick Kaplan, will take down the framed photograph of Sawyer on his office “anchor wall”? He was her E.P. on ABC’s “PrimeTime Live’ when it launched in 1989. Also in the gallery: Walter Cronkite, from Kaplan’s earlier CBS hitch.

While Sawyer was the obvious choice for “World News”, the sudden timing of the news caught many in the industry by surprise, including Chung.

“I never thought Charlie would give up the chair,” she says.

“I’m shocked,” says Emily Rooney, 59, of Boston’s WGBH and former E.P. of “World News Tonight.’ “He’s only 66. I don’t know why he would want to retire if the affiliates are happy. I’m always suspicious. My gut is that they promised her this.”

Jim Bell, E.P. of NBC’s champion “Today,” is relieved he won’t have to compete with Sawyer anymore, but says he’s surprised ABC “would tinker with ‘GMA’. It seemed like they were all in a good place.”

Were they? Who knows? ABC kept Sawyer and Gibson under wraps yesterday.

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