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Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Downs’

David Muir Named Co-Anchor of ’20/20′

Hugh Downs, John Miller, John Stossell, Chris Cuomo and now add David Muir‘s name to the list of anchors of ABC’s “20/20.” With Cuomo’s departure to CNN, ABC wasted no time in pairing Muir, who anchors “ABC World News” on the weekends, with Elizabeth Vargas on the ABC News magazine.

“David has been an authoritative presence at the anchor desk, most recently anchoring nearly five hours straight as we learned of the horrible events unfolding in Newtown,” writes ABC News president Ben Sherwood in a note to staff. “I’m delighted he’s bringing his ample storytelling skills to Friday nights in primetime, where Elizabeth and the team are delivering the biggest audience in years.”

Sherwood also made mention of Cuomo’s departure. “Chris has been a unique voice at the anchor desk and a valued colleague and friend. We’ll miss his energy, commitment and humor and we wish him the very best in this new venture.”

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Reuniting Anchors and Reliving 60 Years of Today

This morning “Today” dedicated most of its broadcast to its 60th anniversary celebration, kicking off with an introduction from Matt Lauer:

The program featured congratulations — and a proclamation — from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President and First Lady Michelle Obama and a cadre of celebrities (Tom Hanks delivered the birthday cake), along with a number of retrospective packages, such as this one:

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How Barbara Walters Woke up Today: ‘That’s my legacy. I’m very proud of it.’

Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs pose in the "Today" photo booth during the show's 60th Anniversary broadcast this morning.

Barbara Walters’ retirement timetable is none of our business.

“I know when I’m going to do it, and I’m fine about it,” says ABC’s Walters, 82. “When I leave, I’m not going to go do something else or go tackle something else. I have a wonderful, full private life. I will be just fine.”

Got that?

“The fact is, I’m still working, I feel great and I’m still doing very important stories,” she adds. “It’s been one of my busiest years. I’m on ‘The View’ three times a week, I went to Syria, I interviewed the Obamas before Christmas.”

The first female co-host of ‘Today,’ Walters returns to her former digs this morning as part of the show’s 60th anniversary celebration. She’ll be joined by fellow alums Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley and Hugh Downs, among others.

Breaking into the boys club of ‘Today’ hosts was no easy task for Walters in 1974. She had to do it over Frank McGee’s dead body. Literally.

The backstory: McGee had refused to do joint news interviews with Walters, who had sweated her way up from ‘Today Girl’ to reporter. For the veteran newsman, working with a woman “was a humiliation,” according to Walters, and ‘Today’ represented “a demotion.”

In the mindset of that era, TV-women “were supposed to do fashion shows and celebrities,” explains Walters. “When NBC hired me [as a writer-researcher in 1961], I wasn’t an actor or a model and I didn’t sing. It was a huge breakthrough just to put me on.”

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A Party Tonight, Before the Today Celebration

The party’s still going at the Edison Ballroom in Times Square as the “Today” show celebrates its 60th anniversary. The morning milestone began with a welcome from “Today” frontman Matt Lauer before singer Pit Bull took the stage.

Fourth hour hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford were early arrivals, with Kotb (below) front and center during Pit Bull’s set. We spotted NBC News president Steve Capus and “Today” EP Jim Bell working the room, as longtime EP and, later NBCU president Jeff Zucker was deep in conversation with former “Today” anchor Meredith Vieira.

“Today” senior broadcast producer Don Nash, who’s been with the show more than a third of its life — 23 years — tells TVNewser tomorrow’s anniversary program is not to be missed. All former living on air talent — save for Joe Garagiola and Gene Shalit who aren’t able to make it — will be a part of the show. And we spotted many of them at the party tonight, including Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, (above) Barbara Walters, John Palmer and Hugh Downs.

NBC spared no expense flying in correspondents from other NBC bureaus including Andrea Mitchell, Kerry Sanders, Kevin Tibbles, Janet Shamlian and Luke Russert.

Brian Williams stopped in after “Nightly News.” And we chatted with “Today” anchors Savannah Guthrie, Jenna Wolfe and Amy Robach, here with husband Andrew Shue, and said hello to Willard Scott on our way out. Other “Today” regulars celebrating  included Jill Rappaport, Martha Stewart, the Scotto family and Bobby Flay. We chatted with Andy Cohen (mostly about NeNe Leakes) who later tonight will be interviewing Rosie O’Donnell on his Bravo show, “Watch What Happens Live.”

Rounding out the crowd: Willie Geist, Jeff Rossen, Martin Bashir, Carl Quintanilla, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Tyler Mathisen, MSNBC president Phil Griffin and CNBC president Mark Hoffman and many more I may have missed. Because, as I said, the party is still going. Then, tomorrow at 7am, “Today” takes the party nationwide.

Andrea Mitchell and Jeff Zucker

Kerry Sanders and Jenna Wolfe

(Photos: Chris Ariens)

As ‘Today’ Prepares for 60 Year Celebration, Matt Lauer Celebrates 15 Years Behind the Anchor Desk

Next Friday, January 13, NBC’s “Today” will bring back a slew of former anchors, including Meredith Vieira, Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley, Hugh Downs, Deborah Norville and Jim Hartz. The event is the capper to a week looking back on 60 years of the leading morning news program.

Other segments will include a tribute from President and Mrs. Obama, as well as an interview with a staffer who worked on the show in 1952. Public landmarks such as the Empire State Building, the Bellagio Hotel, Niagara Falls and the CIRA Center will all be lit up in the “Today” colors.

This morning, “Today” also marked Matt Lauer‘s 15th anniversary as co-anchor. The 8:30 half hour began with the “Today” show open from Jan. 6, 1997, with Couric and Lauer (below). To celebrate, the put up its top 15 Lauer moments, including his very first day:

More on the 60th anniversary celebration, after the jump.

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Kennedy Funeral: Guests Arrive

This morning, the cable and broadcast networks spent their time closely watching the parade of political celebrities as they arrived at Sen. Kennedy’s funeral Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Health. We spotted former-Presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. Also in attendance were VP Joe Biden and former-VPs Al Gore and Dan Quayle. Some newsers who appear to be there today as guests are David Gregory, Tom Brokaw, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff, Maureen Orth, and Luke Russert (A reader noticed Hugh Downs as well). We also spotted Tony Bennett, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Russell. Here are some screenshots of the coverage:

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