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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Lee’

Barbara Walters On Retiring in 2014: ‘This Is What I Want To Do’

As expected, ABC’s Barbara Walters announced her retirement on “The View” today. The show kicked off with Walters introducing a brief career retrospective, followed by her formal announcement:

“I have been on television–continuously–for over 50 years,” Walters said. “But in the Summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all. It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am perfectly healthy, this is my decision and I have been thinking about it for a long time. This is what I want to do.”

The audience in “The View” studio was filled with executives, including ABC News president Ben Sherwood (“Not only the best president of a news division but also the tallest,” Walters joked), ABC executive VP Vicki Dummer, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee, Disney-ABC TV group president Anne Sweeney and Disney CEO Bob Iger, who shared the story of when he first met Walters back in 1976.

He was a production assistant, and was asked to bring something to Walters’ dressing room. He wasn’t expecting her to be there, but she was, and she was very kind to him.

“From then on you called me Jim, my name is Bob,” he quipped, adding more seriously:

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‘Nightline’ shortened by 5 minutes, Jimmy Kimmel to Start at Midnight ET

ABC News “Nightline” is losing 5 minutes every night, but gaining about 13 hours in ABC primetime this year.

The news, just announced in a staff email from ABC News boss Ben Sherwood, and obtained by TVNewser, is that the new 25-minute “Nightline” will allow Jimmy Kimmel Live” to start at MidnightET/11pmCT.

“First and foremost,” Sherwood writes, “today ABC has definitively answered one of the recurring questions about Nightline and ABC News: The company firmly believes Nightline is a vital part of its successful late night strategy and Nightline will anchor the schedule at 11:35 PM. Period.”

This will mean about two fewer minutes of editorial content and a re-formatting of “Nightline” which continues to be the post-late news leading network show. The change takes effect Feb. 4.

Sherwood also says he’s working with Paul Lee, head of of ABC Entertainment for “a firm commitment for 13 hours in prime for Nightline to produce this year.”

Sherwood’s memo after the jump…

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ABC News Chief Ben Sherwood: No More Layoffs, But Change Needs to Come to the Broadcast News Division

This morning, new ABC News president Ben Sherwood kicked off ABC’s day of presentations at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour in Pasadena.

Sherwood told the assembled critics that there were no more layoffs in store at the news division, which saw hundreds of employees leave the company through buyouts and layoffs last year.

Sherwood also said he and Disney-ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney were interested in finding some sort of partner for ABC News, be it a cable network like Bloomberg TV or a digital partner like Facebook.

“If we can partner on the digital side or the cable side, we must do that,” Sherwood said, adding with regards to Bloomberg: “How can you not think about partnering with an organization that has had the success Bloomberg has?”

That jives with what Sweeney told Broadcasting & Cable in an interview today(subscription required):

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ABC News President Ben Sherwood ‘Laughs Off’ Video Criticizing Him

A video posted on Vimeo by someone using the pseudonym “Roone Arledge” (the former president of ABC News & Sports) a few days ago has been making the rounds at ABC and at other news organizations. The video attacks the choice of Ben Sherwood as the new president of ABC News:

Ben Sherwood:The Movie from Roone Arledge on Vimeo.

Someone who just spoke to Sherwood today tells TVNewser that he “laughed it off.”

“In this age, in this business, it is to be expected,” they added.

Sherwood should not be immune from criticism, but office gossip is not always fact.

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Reexamining ABC News’ Recent Senior Leadership Changes

Disney-Logo090610.jpgOn August 26, ABC News president David Westin announced a new senior leadership structure at the division.

At the time, it seemed as though Westin was taking a more hands-on approach to ABC News programs, with the EPs of “World News,” “GMA” and “Nightline” reporting directly to him.

In hindsight, however, the rearranging takes on a very different appearance.

In his memo to staff yesterday, Westin says that he told Disney-ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney and Disney CEO Bob Iger of his decision “a month ago.”

In other words, the new leadership stricture was put together with the knowledge that Westin would be leaving the company.

So what can we take away from all this?

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Jimmy Kimmel Sends Christiane Amanpour a Peace Offering


Update: It was Jimmy Fallon, not Jimmy Kimmel! More information after the jump.

It seems the once hardened relationship between ABC’s entertainment division and the network’s news division is finally thawing. First “Nightline” starts throwing to late night host Jimmy Kimmel at the end of their broadcasts, and now Kimmel is responding in kind to new “This Week” host Christiane Amanpour

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McPherson Out at ABC, What Does It Mean for Nightline?

mcpherson072810.jpg Yesterday Steve McPherson, ABC’s President of Entertainment, submitted his resignation. The shakeup took the media world by surprise last night. McPherson says he plans to start a new media company, and a “new entrepreneurial venture in the spirits business.”

In the TV news world, McPherson was known to be a vocal critic of “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m., arguing that the time period should belong to the entertainment division of ABC, in order to better compete with “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show.”

In 2008, when it looked like Jay Leno would become available once Conan O’Brien took over “Tonight,” McPherson said that putting a comedy program at 11:35 was a “huge possibility,” and that late night in general was “a growth area for us.”

Of course, the decision to move “Nightline” to another slot would had to have come from Anne Sweeney, who oversees the Disney-ABC TV group, and to whom both McPherson and ABC News chief David Westin report.

So will McPherson’s apparent replacement, ABC Family president Paul Lee, fight as hard to bring “Nightline”‘s time period to the entertainment side of the company? It is far too soon to tell, but if anyone could appreciate what “Nightline” brings to ABC, it is Lee.

As this 2008 profile notes, Lee got his start in television as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for the BBC, eventually moving stateside as the founding GM of BBC America.