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Posts Tagged ‘Eric Avram’

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.

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ABC News Promotes Eric Avram and Santina Leuci

ABC News has promoted a pair of executives charged with wrangling tough interviews. Eric Avram has been promoted to Senior EP of division-wide interviews, reporting to ABC News president Ben Sherwood. In that role Avram will be in charge of interviews for ABC’s Medical, Business and Law & Justice teams as well as the Woodruff unit and the investigative units.

Santina Leuci, “Good Morning America’”s chief booker, will become executive editorial producer, while retaining her “GMA” duties. She will continue to report to “GMA” senior EP Tom Cibrowski.

Avram has been the man charged with booking big guests for many of ABC’s primetime specials. As the network moved away from paying for interviews via license fees, it has been able to book big guests by promising maximum exposure on multiple platforms and shows. Leuci has been at the forefront of “GMA’”s revival, particularly during Robin Roberts‘ absence from the program, when a number of big names stepped in to help fill her shoes.

Sherwood’s note to staff, after the jump.
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Who is Filling Oprah’s Shoes?

The AP’s David Bauder wonders who is getting the “gets” since Oprah Winfrey left the daily TV airwaves. The answer, increasingly, is Oprah, for her OWN show, “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” Bauder also says Katie Couric “could be Winfrey’s true heir as an interviewer in daytime.” But also, don’t count out the news organizations, particularly ABC.

While “Today” and CBS’ “60 Minutes” are able to land strong interviews, no television organization has been as aggressive as ABC News in seeking the big “gets.”

“There’s more to ABC’s efforts than filling a void left by Winfrey, said Eric Avram, who runs the network’s interview bookings. Still, he doesn’t miss her. “Oprah obviously had an enormous presence and her iconic show was one of our biggest competitors,” he said.

Bauder talks with ABC News consultant, publicist to the stars Howard Bragman who says NBC News should not be underestimated. “They are both working very hard now,” he said. Just last night on “Rock Center,” Kate Snow, formerly of ABC now with NBC, interviewed an Ohio man who is the first to speak publicly about the sexual abuse he endured under former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.