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Posts Tagged ‘Fred Francis’

Remembering Jessica Savitch, 30 Years After Her Death

SavitchJessicaIn the early 1980s, with cable in its infancy and network anchors dominating the airwaves, one of the most identifiable, and beloved, was NBC’s Jessica Savitch.

A pioneering woman in broadcasting, Savitch was only 30 when, in 1977, fresh from local TV news jobs in Philadelphia and Houston, NBC News hired her to cover Congress.  Savitch went on to be the first woman to anchor a weekend newscast for NBC, and perhaps was best known for her highly-visible primetime ’news capsule’ updates. Her rocky personal life made headlines too.

But it all came to an end on a rainy autumn night in 1983, when the car Savitch was in plunged into a Bucks County, Pennsylvania canal, killing her and the car’s driver, 34-year-old Martin Fischbein, a vice president at the New York Post.

As we approach the thirtieth anniversary of that day – October 23 – TVNewser reached out to friends, family, and colleagues for their memories of Jessica Savitch, who was just 36 when she died.

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “Jessica Savitch was a warm-hearted, caring person and a pioneer in broadcasting who lost her life tragically just as she was soaring to new  heights. She was my friend at KYW in Philadelphia and my office mate at NBC in Washington. I was privileged to know her and mourn her loss, along with friends and family, so many years later.”

Former KYW Co-Anchor Mort Crim, who delivered the eulogy at Savitch’s funeral: “Her untimely passing was a loss to me, personally, and to the world of TV journalism. I’ve worked with many talented people, but none who could surpass Jess for a combination of ability, sensitivity and drive…An agent for Will Farrell contacted me a few weeks ago as Anchorman II was nearing completion to remind me that Jess and I had been the inspiration for the first Anchorman movie…Jess was 25 years old when we first shared an anchor desk.  But the years fly by swiftly and she would now be 65, something I can hardly believe. I still miss her.”

NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “It was such a sad, even tragic ending, to a life that was the classic American success story. Jessica had a wide following of admirers, first in Philadelphia and then on the network – and just when she seemed to have found personal happiness, the untimely end.”

After the jump, thoughts from Sue Simmons, Fred Francis, and Linda Ellerbee…plus Lori Savitch on the journalism scholarships that honor her sister thirty years later.

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CNN’s Howard Kurtz Talks About CNN’s Big Hire On CNN

On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” yesterday, Howard Kurtz spoke to critic David Zurawik, former CNN DC bureau chief Frank Sesno and former NBC News correspondent Fred Francis about CNN’s big hire this week: former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker.

Tammy Haddad on ‘Reliable Sources’

Tomorrow on “Reliable Sources” Howie Kurtz talks with former longtime “Larry King Live” producer Tammmy Haddad — who’s also had stints as producer/executive at NBC’s “Today” show, and MSNBC — about King stepping down from his show later this year.

Former CNN and NBC pentagon correspondents Jamie McIntyre and Fred Francis will also be on to talk about the continued fallout from the “Rolling Stone” interview with Gen. McChrystal.

Haddad_7.3.JPG

Tammy Haddad (far right) with Rupert Murdoch, his wife Wendi Deng, Susan Axelrod (center), wife of Pres. Obama adviser David Axelrod and Hilary Rosen (far left) at Haddad’s WHCA brunch in May.

Toyota & Healthcare on Reliable Sources

Tomorrow on Reliable Sources (11amET on CNN), Howard Kurtz talks with ABC News correspondent Brian Ross and his former NBC colleague Fred Francis about the media coverage of the Toyota recalls and congressional testimony.

Also, WaPo’s Dana Milbank, former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum and The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel talk about TV news coverage of Thursday’s healthcare forum.