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Posts Tagged ‘David Westin’

Ben Sherwood: ‘There’s not been a syllable about cuts or more shrinking’



Incoming ABC News president Ben Sherwood and outgoing news boss David Westin this morning at ABC News headquarters as Sherwood was re-introduced to the ABC News staff.

Ben Sherwood takes the reins at ABC News Monday morning, but he’s been observing from the West Coast as it became clear he was the front-runner for the job to succeed David Westin. Westin, who’s held the job for the last 13 years, bid farewell today at a staff meeting at which Sherwood, who’s had two prior stints at ABC News, was re-introduced to ABC Newsers. After that meeting, TVNewser talked with Sherwood about his new job, his return to ABC and the challenges ahead.

TVNewser: What made you want to take this job?

Ben Sherwood: To be perfectly honest — as Anne Sweeney said today — I came in as friend of ABC News. And after my name had surfaced [as a candidate for the job,] she and I sat down to talk about ideas. And as I heard Anne’s vision for ABC News, and ABC News as an indispensable part of the network, I got really excited about the future.

TVNewser: You’ve been away from day-to-day TV news for four years, do you expect a rough transition getting back in?

Sherwood: I flew the red eye to get here so I’m already back on “GMA” hours [Sherwood was EP of the show from 2004-2006.] I’m ready. I’ve been leading a very different life [as an author and public speaker]. This is my third time back to ABC. But it’s a different organization than the one I left. I’ll be here Monday morning ready to go.

TVNewser: What’s the biggest challenge as you see it coming in?

Ben Sherwood: Hard to say. One big challenge is the rapidly changing world of news and information. It’s a challenge for everybody in this industry. Everything is up for grabs. David Westin has done a fantastic job positioning ABC News for the future, especially the digital future. My job is to raise the competitive metabolism even higher, find bigger audiences, global audiences and along the way look at the website and radio and find a way to grow the overall audience.

TVNewser: Any changes you plan to make on any of the shows?

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Breaking: Ben Sherwood to Lead ABC News

First on TVNewser: Anne Sweeney, the president of Disney/ABC Television has named Ben Sherwood to lead  the news division, TVNewser has learned. Sherwood is the former Executive Producer of “Good Morning America.”

Developing…

Sherwood left ABC and “Good Morning America” in June 2006. He made the move to the West Coast and continued to write books. One of which, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud, , was made into a major motion picture last summer.

Before ABC, Sherwood was with NBC News as a senior producer on the “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.”

Writes Sweeney in a note to staff: “Those of you who worked with Ben during his previous tenures at ABC News on PrimeTime and Good Morning America know him to be the quintessential journalist, with the integrity and innovative spirit that defines ABC News.”

David Westin announced in early September that he would be leaving the company — where he’s been president since March 1997.

Insiders tell us Westin is writing a book about his time at the network which will include some of the difficult decisions he’s had to make over the last 13 years.

> More: Internal email from Anne Sweeney, after the jump…

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Ian Cameron to Leave ABC’s ‘This Week’

First on TVNewser: Ian Cameron, the executive producer of ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” is leaving the program at the end of the year, people familiar with the decision tell TVNewser.

Cameron was named executive producer of “This Week” in 2008, and before that served as senior Washington producer for “ABC World News with Charles Gibson.” He had been with ABC News since 1998.

“Nightline” executive producer James Goldston, who added oversight of “This Week” in August, will take over day-to-day operations when Cameron departs.

Based on a memo sent to employees by ABC News president David Westin, it appears that there may be some consolidation among the “Nightline” and “This Week” staff once the transition is complete:

James Goldston has been working with Ian and me for several months on This Week, and at the end of the year he will take over day-to-day responsibilities for producing the program, relying on the capable This Week staff in Washington as well as integrating operations where it makes sense with the Nightline team.

Update: It’s official, the letters from Westin and Cameron are after the jump.

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From ‘Smart Ass’ Sports Guy to ABC News Anchor

In part II of our MediaBeat interview with ABC News anchor Bill Weir, Weir talks about making the leap from local sports reporter to network news anchor. Also: the future of ABC News from a leadership perspective. As David Westin prepares to leave the network, who will take over? Weir: “There’s the pragmatic attitude which is: it wouldn’t be so bad if they found some Harvard MBA dropout who made a billion dollars in a web startup.”

  • Part III: Tomorrow — Covering Brett Favre in the early days

Who’s on the Short List for the top job at ABC News?

B&C’s Marisa Guthrie has an update on the search for David Westin‘s replacement at ABC News. Guthrie reports Disney-ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney was at ABC News headquarters in New York last week:

According to multiple sources, Sweeney held meetings with a handful of current executives at ABC News, including James Goldston and Jim Murphy, executive producers at Nightline and Good Morning America, respectively. Sweeney also met with Kate O’Brian, senior VP of news coverage. Jon Banner, executive producer of World News with Diane Sawyer, had a meeting with Sweeney at an earlier occasion.

Multiple names from the ABC station group including O&O president Rebecca Campbell and Emily Barr, the president and general manager of WLS-TV, the ABC O&O in Chicago, have been disavowed.

By the way, we still have our poll open on the subject. What do you think?

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Dan Harris named GMA Weekend co-anchor

“Good Morning America Weekend” has its new anchor team in place. Today Dan Harris was named co-anchor alongside Bianna Goldodryga. Harris has been filling in for several weekends and the announcement comes as Golodryga returns from her honeymoon. She was married Sept. 26 to former White House OMB director Peter Orszag.

Harris will continue to co-anchor “World News Sunday” until a replacement is named. But we hear Sharyn Alfonsi is on the short, short list.

TVNewser has also learned that with the recent departure of weather anchor Marysol Castro, the show will use a rotating cast of weather personalities from ABC affiliates.

On GMA, Harris takes over for Bill Weir who moved to Nightline in August.

TVNewser has the internal email sent out by ABC News president David Westin. Also, how did Harris do in the poll we asked in August?

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ABC News Partnering with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Year-Long Health Series

First on TVNewser: ABC News is launching a multi-million dollar year-long series on global health, “Be the Change: Save a Life,” with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on board as sponsor.

The series will be featured across every ABC News program and platform, with coverage being led by “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer and newly minted ABC News chief health & medical editor Dr. Richard Besser.

ABC News is investing $4.5 million into the series, with the gates Foundation providing an additional $1.5 million to offset overseas production costs and travel. A spokesperson for ABC News says the news division will have complete editorial control over coverage, and will note where the sponsorship money is being used on-air.

“Be the Change: Save a Life” will kick off in December and run through 2011.

Update: It’s official, more information and a quote from ABC News president David Westin after the jump.

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ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson Steps Aside

After 25 years as ABC News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Tim Johnson is stepping aside from fulltime duties at ABC News. Dr. Richard Besser, who joined ABC last summer from the CDC, is being named Chief Health & Medical editor. Johnson will stay on as a medical contributor.

More in a note from ABC News president David Westin.

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Jon Klein out as CNN/U.S. President

Breaking: CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein is leaving the company, the network confirms.  HLN chief Ken Jautz will replace Klein at the parent network as executive VP of CNN/U.S., with CNN CMO Scot Safon taking over HLN.

“Jon has made important contributions to the CNN story, and he leaves with our respect and friendship, and with my sincere thanks,” wrote CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton in a memo to employees his morning.

“The CNN I’m leaving today is demonstrably stronger than the one I inherited almost six years ago – both editorially and financially,” wrote Klein in a memo to staff. “That is a tribute to your passion for telling stories that matter, your talent for uncovering the truth without layering on destructive bluster or partisan spin, and your willingness to indulge my appetite for innovation and change.”

Klein’s departure and Jautz’s hire was first reported this morning by FTVLive.

The timing of Klein’s departure is strange, given that the new primetime lineup he helped design is yet to debut on the network. The first of those programs, “Parker Spitzer,” will premiere in early October. Piers Morgan will take over the 9 PM timeslot from Larry King early next year.

Klein had been president of CNN’s U.S. network since 2004, signing a four-year contract extension in 2007. he is the second major news chief to announce his departure in recent weeks. ABC News president David Westin announced he would leave that company earlier this month.

The memos from Walton and Klein are after the jump.

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Jonathan Karl Upped at ABC News

Karl_9.20.jpgJonathan Karl has been named Senior Political Correspondent for ABC News. Karl, who will continue to cover Capitol Hill, will cover the mid-terms for all of ABC’s shows and platforms. He’ll also appear on “Good Morning America” each Tuesday leading up to the November vote.

Karl will also continue co-anchoring ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” political webcast.

Jon Karl joined ABC News in January 2003 as the network’s Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent covering the State Department.

More in an email from ABC News president David Westin

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