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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Ford’

Jodi Applegate, Soledad O’Brien, Campbell Brown Help Celebrate Weekend ‘Today’ 25th Anniversary

Sunday morning, NBC’s Weekend “Today” will celebrate a quarter century of being on the air. “Today” made its Sunday debut in 1987 and five years later, the Saturday edition premiered making it a 7-day a week franchise.

Former anchors Boyd Matson, Garrick Utley, Mary Alice Williams, Scott Simon, Jackie Nespral, Mike Schneider, Giselle Fernandez and Jodi Applegate will be in studio, while the show has assembled taped pieces from other former anchors including Campbell Brown, Maria Shriver, Jack Ford and Soledad O’Brien.

Will Amy Robach who left the show earlier this year and is now with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” make an appearance? Stay tuned. A permanent Saturday co-anchor has not been named. Jenna Wolfe and Lester Holt, who has anchored the show for 9 years, lead the anniversary broadcast Sunday morning.

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Are NBC and CBS taking a competitive swipe at an ABC affiliate?

This morning, CBS’ “The Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” show produced stories on the criminal case against  Heidi Jones, a weathercaster on WABC, ABC’s flagship O&O and the dominant news station in New York.

Jones, who does weekend weather for WABC and has filled in on “Good Morning America”, is accused of filing a false police report. She told the NYPD that someone tried to rape her as she was jogging in Central Park. Jones, who is a marathon runner and hosts a website called Run With Heidi, has been suspended and is facing misdemeanor charges. WABC reported the news on its Noon and 5pm newscasts Wednesday and the story is on their website.

WCBS-TV in New York aired stories on their Noon, 5, 6 and 11pm newscasts yesterday. Then this morning, “The Early Show” produced a package on the case which set up a segment during which Harry Smith talked with psychologist Jennifer Hartstein and CBS News legal analyst (and former NBC, ABC and CourtTV anchor) Jack Ford.

NBC News sent reporter Mike Taibbi to Central Park to front the story at 7:30amET and again at 9am on “Today.” Then anchor Meredith Vieira talked about it with psychiatrist Gail Saltz.

Were CBS and NBC really trying to shed light on this story, or just take a shot at a strong, local competitor? Let us know what you think in the comments.

truTV’s “In Session” Shuts Down

TruTV_6.23.gifBreaking: TVNewser has learned truTV’s ‘In Session’ daytime programming is shutting down its New York operations leaving as many as 65 staffers out of a job. Executives from Turner Broadcasting, which owns truTV, have been notifying employees of the change this afternoon. ‘In Session’ includes longtime anchors Jack Ford and Ashleigh Banfield, who, we’re told, are among the cuts.

The live daytime programming from truTV’s headquarters on Manhattan’s east side will cease in mid-November. At that point
Turner Broadcasting’s HLN in Atlanta will provide programming for truTV’s daytime hours. Primetime reality programming will continue. truTV was the 10th most watched cable network in Total Day last week, ahead of CNN and MSNBC. In primetime, truTV was ranked #19, also ahead of CNN and MSNBC.

“It’s really sad,” one longtime staffer tells TVNewser.

truTV began as CourtTV in 1991. It made its name with gavel-to-gavel coverage of trials across the country, most notably OJ Simpson’s double murder trial in 1994-95. Time Warner had a 25% stake in CourtTV when it launched. It bought full control in 2006 and re-branded the channel on Jan. 1, 2008.

> Update: Insiders tell us the number of positions eliminated in New York is around 100, with up to 70 jobs created in Atlanta.

> Update (2): We’re told 10 of the current field staffers will be kept on for trial coverage: four reporter/lawyers and six producers.

> More: Statement from Turner Broadcasting: Production of truTV’s IN SESSION trial coverage will shift from New York to HLN in Atlanta, effective Nov. 16, to leverage the unrivaled production capabilities and infrastructure of the CNN organization, which includes HLN. This move will result in some position elimination in New York and position growth in Atlanta, which we are currently addressing. There will be no interruption to IN SESSION’s programming schedule. We are also restructuring truTV’s marketing staff, which will include a reduction of some positions in New York.

• After the jump, the internal memo from truTV EVP Marc Juris and CNN Worldwide EVP Ken Jautz

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“I Will Never Forgive Him For His Cruelty and the Manner in Which he Decided to Dispose of Me”

ABanfield_2.10.jpgtruTV’s Ashleigh Banfield has some harsh words for a former boss in a profile in New Canaan – Darien Magazine. Banfield lives in Darien, CT with her husband and two children.

Banfield talks about her uneasy split several years ago with NBC News, after making a name for herself on MSNBC during and after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I begged for seventeen months to be let out of my contract. If they had no use for me, let’s just part ways amicably – no need for payouts, just a clean break. And Neal [Shapiro, NBC News president at the time] wouldn’t allow it. I don’t know what his rationale was – perhaps he thought I would take what I felt was a very strong brand, and others felt was a very strong brand, to another network and make a success of it. Maybe that’s why he chose to keep me in a warehouse. I will never forgive him for his cruelty and the manner in which he decided to dispose of me.”

Shapiro, who left NBC in 2005, responds: “I don’t recall events the same way Ashleigh does, but I am glad she has found personal and professional success and I wish her all the best.”

Banfield moved to CourtTV (now truTV) in 2005 and is the only non-lawyer anchoring on the network. Her on-air partner, former ABC and NBC anchor Jack Ford calls her “an absolute delight to work with” and says not being a lawyer works to her advantage. “She brings to the show the kind of curiosity a juror would bring,” he says.

“I know this is my lot,” Banfield says. “If I want to be successful in this business, I’m going to have to take it on the chin and cope with it. This business is not for the thin-skinned, and I don’t know that I have the thickest of skins.”