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Posts Tagged ‘David Sloan’

ABC Newsers Toast Ben Sherwood

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As Ben Sherwood heads West, his East Coast colleagues sent him off in style last night at the Nomad Hotel in New York’s Flatiron District. Sherwood, named co-president of Disney/ABC TV in March, is moving his family to Los Angeles.

Insiders tell us heartfelt toasts were given by Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Lara Spencer. Sherwood got a big laugh when he promised Stephanopoulos a reality show, detective comedy or both.

And there were gifts: Sherwood was given a framed golden headset to remind him of his days in the control room — with the label “break in case of emergency,” while the whole family got ABC News Extreme Weather Team jackets — with “Sherwood” embroidered on the back.

Sherwood’s had three stints with ABC News, starting in 1989 as a producer at “Primetime Live.” After a run at “NBC Nightly News,” Sherwood returned to ABC in 2004 for a two-year stint as EP of “Good Morning America.” Sherwood turned to writing, penning three best-sellers, one of which was turned into a major motion picture. In 2010, he returned to ABC as News president.

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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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Toasting Tory Johnson for Making the ‘Shift’ and Shedding 72 Pounds

At her book party for “Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life,” “Good Morning America” contributor Tory Johnson told the story about what set her on the path, once and for all, to shed unwanted pounds. It was a conversation she had with Barbara Fedida, SVP of talent development and one of her bosses at ABC News.

The advice was so meaningful, that Johnson dedicates the book to Fedida: “For telling me what I needed to hear.”

Fittingly, Fedida hosted the party the East Side home she shares with husband ESPN Radio’s Andrew Brill. Always cheerful in her “Steals & Deals” segments, Johnson says she hasn’t been truly this happy in a long time. In 20 months, she’s lost 72 pounds — equivalent to two dogs, so said her teenage twins Jake and Emma. (The family beagle Marly weighs in at 35 lbs.) And Johnson did it on the sly, without telling her “GMA” family, until it became clear she was on a mission.

Before heading to the US Weekly event where she was honored, “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts toasted Johnson for the dedication she showed. ABC News president Ben Sherwood also raised a glass, praising Johnson for her determination and her penchant for giving really BIG GIFTS, including the two giant stuffed animals she’s given to his kids over the years. Sherwood gave Johnson her “GMA” job when he was EP of the show in the mid-2000′s Johnson’s first job in TV was as an intern at ABC’s “20/20.”

TVNewser also spotted ABC News anchors Lara Spencer, Cynthia McFadden, Amy Robach and Josh Elliot; correspondents Byron Pitts, Deborah Roberts and Gio Benitez; execs Susan Mercandetti, James Goldston, David Sloan, Morgan Hertzen, Jeffrey Schneider, Eric Avram and Sandy Cannold. Former “GMA” EP Jim Murphy, now senior EP of CNN’s “New Day.” Also, David Zincenko, Dr. Richard Besser, Deborah Norville, and Barbara Corcoran, who assisted Sherwood in presenting a gift to Johnson: a box full of zero-calorie pickles — a favorite snack on her journey.

WABC anchors David Navarro, Lee Goldberg Rob Powers and Lori Stokes also attended. We had a nice chat with meteorologist Amy Freeze (her real last name) about the science behind the weather — and also raising four kids in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Freeze also told us she has benefited from the “Fedida plan,” as it’s become known in the halls of ABC.

Diane Sawyer Tweets Through Jaycee Dugard Special

Diane Sawyer began Tweeting Friday ahead of tonight’s live tweet of her Jaycee Dugard special. (Sawyer’s second Tweet was about the death of former First Lady Betty Ford). It was Dugard’s first interview since being set free from 18 years of captivity at the hands of a deranged, convicted rapist and his complicit wife.

Sawyer has spent the last 12 days working on the special, including two days of interviews with Dugard late last month. Sawyer, along with Chris Cuomo, who investigated the inaction by local, state and federal authorities, taped their on camera portions this weekend. Sawyer watched the special at ABC News headquarters tonight along with ABC News newsmagazine EP David Sloan (below).

The special leaned heavily on passages from Dugard’s book, “A Stolen Life” which comes out Tuesday. In it, Dugard describes her last feeling of freedom along a South Lake Tahoe road on that June morning in 1991 — a pine cone, which, 20 years later is a symbol of the hope that kept her alive. (Video of Dugard talking about the day she was kidnapped, after the jump.)

Dugard now wears a pine cone charm necklace, and presented Sawyer with one of her own, which Sawyer showed at the close of the show, and Tweeted later (above). Sawyer (@dianesawyer) had about 7,000 followers at the start of her special and more than 10,000 by its end in the Eastern and Central time zones.

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John Green Upped at ABC News

ABC News veteran John Green has been named Executive Producer of ABC Newsmagazines.  For the past 3 years, Green has been EP of special programming and development at ABC News. Before that he was EP of “Good Morning America” weekend, which he launched in 2004.

In a note to staff, obtained by TVNewser, Newsmag EP David Sloan writes, “[Green] will act as my deputy and will bring his considerable creative energy to 20/20, breaking news specials, summer development, and the increasing number of network one-offs we’ll be asked to do in the coming new year.”

Green’s promotion is the first executive producer move under incoming News president Ben Sherwood.

Sloan’s email after the jump…

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Westin Announces Leadership Rearrange at ABC News

westin_8-26.jpgABC News President David Westin sent a memo to staff, obtained by TVNewser, earlier today outlining the new/altered management responsibilities for leadership at the network. While most of the changes add responsibilities for various senior staffers, some are shifting their roles, including “Nightline” EP James Goldston who will now oversee “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” as well.

The announcements are a part of the restructuring of the news division that Westin began instituting earlier this year. Most of today’s changes stem from the departure of Dave Davis, who had a number of people reporting to him.

The biggest surprise might be that Goldston, who EPs the successful “Nightline” from New York, will now also oversee the Sunday program “This Week,” which is based in D.C., with EP Ian Cameron reporting to him.

With Davis’ departure, Westin appears to be getting more closely involved with the big NYC shows, telling the EPs of “World News,” “GMA,” “20/20,” and “Nightline” that they’ll be reporting directly to him.

And as longtime ABCer Phyllis McGrady shifts to a consultant role, David Sloan, EP of newsmagazines, will take responsibility of all long-form programming, though Goldston will oversee primetime programming featuring Amanpour whose arrangement with the network includes “primetime documentaries on international subjects.”

In addition, “World News” EP Jon Banner will now oversee the political and special events units. Special events EP Marc Burstein will now report to Banner.

The full memo with more specifics after the jump…

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‘Dateline,’ ’20/20′ Head-to-Head with Two-Hour Specials

2020dateline.jpgABC’s “20/20″ and NBC’s “Dateline” went head-to-head Friday night, with both programs airing two-hour specials. It’s first time that’s happened since last summer.

The LA Times’ Matea Gold reported yesterday on “20/20″ going up against “Dateline,” one of the temporary replacements in NBC’s line-up filling the 10pm void left by “The Jay Leno Show,” and wrote: “The matchup will accentuate the fierce jostling between the newsmagazines for the biggest scoops.”

ABC had the first exclusive footage of Jaycee Lee Dugard since her rescue, and NBC had the story of a kidnapping in Mexico. “Competition really ups everyone’s game,” “20/20″ EP David Sloan told the LA Times. “It’s good for the viewers and it’s good for the shows.”

The two newsmagazines averaged 13.68 million viewers combined over the two-hour span last night, with 7.17 million watching “Dateline” and 6.51 million watching “20/20.”

Brian Ross: ‘We Got a Rare Insight into a Chapter of American History’

rosssign_10-1.jpgTVNewser dropped by ABC News investigative correspondent Brian Ross‘ book party last night at ABC’s Times Square studios. “The Madoff Chronicles” hit store shelves this week and many of Ross’ colleagues were on hand to congratulate him last night.

ABC “World News” anchors, present and future, were there. Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer along with her husband Mike Nichols stopped by to offer their congratulations.

ABC News President David Westin described Ross as “The premier investigative reporter working today,” and said, “I think it’s also a bigger occasion to celebrate the work, in general, that you do with all of your colleagues. We at ABC news couldn’t be prouder of the work that you do.”

Ross also addressed the crowd and thanked Westin and everyone who helped him along the way including senior investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz and the rest of her team. He also added, “Finally, we have to thank Bernie and Ruth.”

GMA’s Chris Cuomo told TVNewser the turnout was a testament to how much everyone at ABC News respects Ross. Another GMAer, Sam Champion also attended along with GMA’s Senior EP Jim Murphy, EP Tom Cibrowski, and “Weekend GMA” anchor Bill Weir.

Also present, “Nightline” EP James Goldston, “Nightline” correspondent Vicki Mabrey, “World News” EP Jon Banner, correspondents Betsy Stark and Andrea Canning, and EP of ABC News magazines David Sloan.

We caught up with Ross and asked him about the current state and what the future holds for investigative journalism:

More photos from the evening after the jump:

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