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Posts Tagged ‘Maury Povich’

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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TV, Wall Street Bigwigs Fete Erin Burnett at CNN Launch Party

Mark Whitaker, Jim Walton, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan and Ken Jautz

Last night CNN feted its newest anchor, Erin Burnett, at Robert restaurant at The Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle, just a few hundred feet from CNN’s NYC headquarters. Overlooking Columbus Circle and the southwest corner of Central Park, guests watched the city fade into night, while clips of Burnett preparing for her show played on a loop on TV sets spread throughout the space.

Just after 7:30 PM, CNN/U.S. executive VP Ken Jautz and CNN managing editor Mark Whitaker made some brief remarks. Jautz commented that Burnett is extremely passionate about news, and that anyone expecting a curt reply when asking her what she is working on is in for a long conversation.

Burnett then addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support. Her manager John Ferriter was in attendance, as was her fiancee David Rubulotta. Jautz and Whitaker got shout-outs, as did CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton and CNN ad sales chief Greg D’alba, both of whom were working the room.

The party also drew a packed room of boldface names:

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Connie Chung: ‘The times just aren’t right for network anchors anymore’

Soon-to-be-former ‘CBS Evening News’ anchor Katie Couric will be a smash in syndication, Maury Povich and Connie Chung predict.

“Of everybody, Katie has the best chance, not of replacing Oprah, but of getting Oprah’s audience to give her a good, long look,” says Povich, a syndicated heavyweight for two decades. “She has a great personality for daytime television.”

“She’ll be good. In fact, she’ll be great,” says Chung, co-anchor, with Dan Rather, of ‘CBS Evening News’ from 1993 to ’95, and Povich’s wife. “Even though she’s never done a talk show, I guarantee you she knows how to do an hour.”

Couric’s five-year contract is up June 4. CBS, which reportedly has offered a deal that includes syndication and a continued presence in news, is said to have the inside track.

To Povich, a self-described “scrappy 72,” the key to Couric’s success in syndication will be in her displaying “all her vulnerabilities.”

“You have to say to your audience, ‘Look, we’re imperfect human beings.’ That’s why they can relate to you. Once Katie gets the ‘news anchor’ tag off herself, where she’s inhibited in so many ways, she can just be Katie. That’s all she has to do.”

“Just being Katie” didn’t pry “CBS Evening News” out of third place. Still, that does not mean she’s a failure, according to Chung, 64, who is not unfamiliar with the F-word. Her forced on-air marriage to Rather (left) was, from the beginning, an ugly divorce waiting to happen.

“The times just aren’t right for network anchors anymore,” she says. With Big 3 newscasts hemorrhaging viewers, “what can

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Diane Sawyer to Anchor ‘World News’: ‘Another Nail in the Coffin of the Old Boys’ Network’

GibsonSawyer_9.3.jpgAnyone predicting a Diane SawyerKatie Couric “cat fight” come January “needs to get a life,” says Connie Chung.

“It’s a chauvinistic question,” explains Chung, 63, Dan Rather‘s co-anchor on “CBS Evening News” for about a minute and a half in the early ’90s. “The question should be, ‘How will Diane do against Brian [Williams] and Katie?’”

“Good Morning America’s” Sawyer, 63, will replace retirement-bound Charlie Gibson, 66, as anchor of “ABC World News” beginning in January, ABC announced yesterday. She’ll take on Williams’ No. 1 “NBC Nightly News” and Couric’s No. 3 “CBS Evening News.”

Wonder if Couric’s executive producer, Rick Kaplan, will take down the framed photograph of Sawyer on his office “anchor wall”? He was her E.P. on ABC’s “PrimeTime Live’ when it launched in 1989. Also in the gallery: Walter Cronkite, from Kaplan’s earlier CBS hitch.

While Sawyer was the obvious choice for “World News”, the sudden timing of the news caught many in the industry by surprise, including Chung.

“I never thought Charlie would give up the chair,” she says.

“I’m shocked,” says Emily Rooney, 59, of Boston’s WGBH and former E.P. of “World News Tonight.’ “He’s only 66. I don’t know why he would want to retire if the affiliates are happy. I’m always suspicious. My gut is that they promised her this.”

Jim Bell, E.P. of NBC’s champion “Today,” is relieved he won’t have to compete with Sawyer anymore, but says he’s surprised ABC “would tinker with ‘GMA’. It seemed like they were all in a good place.”

Were they? Who knows? ABC kept Sawyer and Gibson under wraps yesterday.

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