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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Wald’

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

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Why’s Everybody Picking On Piers Morgan?

From news reports and criticisms from American media, to jokes at his expense coming from the UK, Piers Morgan has been on the receiving end of a lot of unfriendly fire since news of his show’s cancellation broke.

The New York Daily News reports Morgan’s own staff is happy to see him go, with his makeup artists leading the parade.

“He was always such an a—— to people working for him,” one insider says of the bombastic Brit. Morgan’s last show is likely to be this week, but no specific date has been set. We hear it was low ratings and a bad attitude that killed it, and the decision was made by network boss Jeff Zucker. “The makeup girls suffered the worst — he was rude and belligerent,” says our source. “The general feeling is Morgan didn’t show any respect to anyone working under him — the people who were trying to make him look good.”

On that front, Morgan went after the Daily News on Twitter this morning.

Morgan’s British cavalry also came to lend support: his former warm up act from “Britain’s Got Talent,” Ian Royce, blogged in Piers’ defense.

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Don Lemon Gets Primetime Run on CNN

DonLemonCNN is giving Don Lemon a program in primetime. TVNewser has learned beginning early next month, Lemon will host a half-hour show at 11pmET/8pmPT. Lemon currently anchors weekend evenings for CNN and is being tapped as a fill-in anchor for Erin Burnett when she goes on maternity leave soon. Jonathan Wald, who oversees Piers Morgan‘s show, will also EP Lemon’s show. The news was first reported by FTVLive.

Lemon relocated from CNN HQ in Atlanta to New York over the summer. His new show will replace the re-air of “Erin Burnett: OutFront.” CNN’s primetime will also need to make room for recent arrival Bill Weir‘s show which is expected to take to the air in the new year.

Barbara Walters, Charlie Rose, Diane Sawyer, Matt Lauer Gather for Piers Morgan Book Party

MorganLauer1On a big night of news, many TV news power players took time to drop by The Carlyle Hotel for Piers Morgan‘s book bash.

Morgan’s “Shooting Straight: Guns, God, Gays and George Clooney,” is a diary of his first three years at CNN, since taking over the timeslot of the legendary Larry King. Hosted by British GQ editor Dylan Jones at the swank Carlyle Restaurant, the guest list included everyone from Fareed Zakaria and Jenny McCarthy to Donald Trump and Tony Bennett. “If there’s a cooler man alive, I’ve not met him,” said Morgan of Bennett.

We also spotted Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, who arrived after updating the West Coast feed of “World News.” And morning anchors, Charlie Rose of CBS, and NBC’s Matt Lauer. Asked what he thought about his new “Today” show set, Lauer paused, then said, “It’s very orange.” It’s taking some getting used to, Lauer added.

Another morning host, CNN’s Chris Cuomo told us reports of troubled times at “New Day” are off the mark. “I’ve never had a closer working relationship with a co-anchor than I have with Kate (Bolduan),” Cuomo said. While ratings are growing — the program was up +29% in viewers and up +15% in the demo in the third quarter — Cuomo admits it’s going to take time to prove the show’s worth. “New Day” launched four months ago today. “Joe (Scarborough) told me it took 15 to 18 months for that show to break out,” he added, speaking of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Back to Morgan who gave a special shout-out to CNN president Jeff Zucker, who’s been his boss twice, first at NBC and now at CNN.

“I had breakfast with Jeff when he was gone from NBC and I said, ‘wouldn’t it be funny if you turned up at CNN?” and he said, ‘Yeah, that’d be crazy,’ … and here he is.”

“I think we all feel a renewed sense of vigor about the place,” said Morgan.

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Why Nate Silver is Such a Hot Commodity

Nate Silver’s migration from the New York Times to ESPN represents more than a new URL – it augurs a sea change in the news business itself, experts say.

Silver’s acclaimed political blog, fivethirtyeight, will expand to sports, weather and entertainment, among other areas, as part of its analytics-driven venue at espn.com, he told reporters yesterday in a conference call.

Though the focus at this point is the blog, expect to see Silver on ESPN and ABC News, especially at election season. Regardless, the blog itself has the muscle to alter the paradigm in news reportage, says Jane Hall, an associate professor in American University’s School of Communication.

“The new buzzwords in the future of journalism are ‘data driven’ and ‘visualization of data,’” Hall says. “Silver brought tremendous credibility and proved himself with his political blog. To branch out to other areas could be very exciting.

“You can do a lot of analysis of data that is credible, if you do it right. A new paradigm could be a very good thing, but I still believe in shoe-leather reporting. You still need to talk to people, face to face, to see what’s on their minds.”

Alex S. Jones, director of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy – and a loyal Timesman – says Silver’s methodology will become a trend because “he’s not the only genius in the world. There will be a lot of people trying to out-Nate Nate.”

Using metrics for weather is a great thing, Jones says, but applying it to sports would be “depressing. If you knew, at the beginning of the season, that the Yankees would lose, it takes away the mystery, the uncertainty.”

Moreover, if Silver, a former baseball numbers wonk, is as accurate with sports prognosticating as he is with politics, “he’ll make it impossible for bookies to make a living,” Jones warns. “People will be less likely to make stupid bets.”

Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO’s “Real Sports,” isn’t convinced that Silver, whom he labels as “a smart guy with a lot of talent,” will be an actual handicapper.

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TV News Executives And Talent Toast ‘Top Of The Morning’ At Book Party

Last night the media elite gathered at the rooftop of The Park in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood to toast New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter‘s book Top of the Morning.

As the sun set over the Hudson River and the High Line park, guests sipped wine and nibbled on hummus, cheese and skewers of shrimp and scallops. NY1 traffic anchor Jamie Shupak, Stelter’s girlfriend, organized the affair.

Matt Lauer and Ann Curry send their regrets,” Stelter quipped in his remarks. Indeed, NBC’s “Today” was not represented at the party, though there were plenty of notable TV news attendees.

ABC News seemed to have the largest contingent, led by president Ben Sherwood, and joined by senior VP of content and development James Goldston, and senior VP of communications Jeffrey Schneider. CBS News was represented by chairman Jeff Fager and “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose (pictured below). NY1′s morning news anchor Pat Kiernan was there, as was CNN “Piers Morgan Live” EP (and former “Today” EP) Jonathan Wald. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, New York Post publisher Jesse Angelo and Gawker founder Nick Denton were all spotted in the crowd.
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More On CNBC’s Booking Practices

NPR’s David Folkenflik tackles CNBC’s aggressive booking practices, and reveals some terrific anecdotes along the way. In the TV news world, booking is the lifeblood, so it isn’t surprising that networks get aggressive.

“Bookers are a unique life form in the ecosystem of news gathering,” said former top CNBC executive Jonathan Wald, now the executive producer of Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN. “They are often the snipers who sit waiting for their prey, drinking black coffee, smoking cigarettes and striking at the ideal moment.”

Wald said that he has issued strict instructions that Morgan will not interview guests once they’ve appeared on certain other shows.

“You don’t want to follow,” Wald said, “and so you’ll do whatever you can to impress upon the guest … the need to be on your show or your network first.”

Folkenflik also talks to Bloomberg TV president Andrew Morse, who notes that while it pays to aggressive, his channel doesn’t try to dictate terms… though sometimes they like to poke fun at the competition:
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Who’s In Line to Take Over at NBC News?

In his farewell note to staff, departing NBC News president Steve Capus writes, “I have much I hope to accomplish in the next phase of my career.” So, too, do the men and women vying to replace Capus. Capus says NBCU News group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel “will be meeting with people throughout the division, and articulating her vision for the NBCUniversal News Group.”

There are strong internal candidates, some of whom, it has been announced by Fili-Krushel, will take on additional duties. Alex Wallace (above, right), who oversees “Today,” and “Rock Center” will now oversee “Nightly News,” where she was once EP. Wallace, who’s been with NBC since 2005, would be the first female news president after nine men have held the job since 1968.

Phil Griffin will likely be considered for the job. As president of MSNBC for the last 4 and a half years he has given the network an identity and boosted ratings, consistently topping CNN — a network his close friend Jeff Zucker now runs. A front office and internal concern would be the progressive programming on the network, often not in line with NBC News standards. Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC, cannot be ruled out. Nor can Capus’ deputy, Antoine Sanfuentes, (above, left) who will run day-to-day in the interim.

External candidates are also plentiful…

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Rachel Nichols Makes CNN Debut

New CNN hire Rachel Nichols, who will be leading the network’s sports coverage and contributing to Turner Sports programming, made her Turner debut yesterday on “Piers Morgan Tonight.”

Nichols said that Morgan’s producer Jonathan Wald had something to do with CNN’s decision to hire her.

“He will wait and see how you do,” Morgan quipped to Nichols. “He will claim all the credit if you are successful, and if not he will have never heard of you.”

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Jake Tapper To Make CNN Debut This Afternoon

Today is Jake Tapper‘s first day on the job at CNN. His afternoon program may still be a few months out, but that won’t stop him from appearing on-air. Tapper will make his CNN debut on “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer this afternoon, according to the anchor. Tapper also filed his first story on CNN.com just a few minutes ago.

In addition, according toPiers Morgan Tonight” executive producer Jonathan Wald, Tapper will also be appearing on that program tonight.

The format for tonight’s “PMT” will be a live town-hall with a studio audience. Guests are slated to include Dan Rather, Mark Cuban and Frank Bruni, and they will be talking about President Obama’s second term in office. Tapper won’t be on for the full hour, just a segment.

It is a good thing that there are so many guests, as the typically loquacious Morgan will probably be a bit quieter than normal:
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