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Posts Tagged ‘Phyllis McGrady’

ABC News Pours The Champagne to Celebrate First ‘GMA’ Weekly Win Since 1995


(l-r) ABC News SVP James Goldston, Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts, ABC News president Ben Sherwood, George Stephanopoulos, Sam Champion, Lara Spencer, GMA EP Tom Cibrowski

More than 200 ABC News staffers packed the 5th floor newsroom this morning for a toast and celebration of “Good Morning America” breaking the “Today” show’s winning streak that lasted 16 years and 16 weeks.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood, who was executive producer of the show when it came within striking distance in 2005, gave two toasts: first to his colleagues at NBC, acknowledging the streak, and a second to his team and all those who came before, including former longtime executives David Westin, Jim MurphyPhyllis McGrady and Shelley Ross, who was EP of the show for more than five years, beginning in 1999.

One longtime ABCNewser emailed, “The energy in the building is electric.” Sherwood, who first joined ABC News in 1989 talked about how before the streak, “We’d win a week, they’d win a week, then we’d win.” The back-and-forth ended on Dec. 11, 1995 when “Today” began its until-now unbroken 852-week winning streak. Sherwood himself jumped to NBC News in 1997 working on “Nightly News” before returning to ABC to oversee “GMA” in 2004. Sherwood talked about how many of the the show’s current staffers were in junior high or high school in 1995. News anchor Josh Elliott had just graduated from college.

Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo, former anchors on the show were in attendance while the current team of Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Sam Champion, Lara Spencer and Elliott said a few words.

James Goldston who oversees the show as SVP, as well as Senior EP Tom Cibrowski also spoke. There was a lot of hugging, an insider tells us.

More pictures after the jump…

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Westin Announces Leadership Rearrange at ABC News

westin_8-26.jpgABC News President David Westin sent a memo to staff, obtained by TVNewser, earlier today outlining the new/altered management responsibilities for leadership at the network. While most of the changes add responsibilities for various senior staffers, some are shifting their roles, including “Nightline” EP James Goldston who will now oversee “This Week with Christiane Amanpour” as well.

The announcements are a part of the restructuring of the news division that Westin began instituting earlier this year. Most of today’s changes stem from the departure of Dave Davis, who had a number of people reporting to him.

The biggest surprise might be that Goldston, who EPs the successful “Nightline” from New York, will now also oversee the Sunday program “This Week,” which is based in D.C., with EP Ian Cameron reporting to him.

With Davis’ departure, Westin appears to be getting more closely involved with the big NYC shows, telling the EPs of “World News,” “GMA,” “20/20,” and “Nightline” that they’ll be reporting directly to him.

And as longtime ABCer Phyllis McGrady shifts to a consultant role, David Sloan, EP of newsmagazines, will take responsibility of all long-form programming, though Goldston will oversee primetime programming featuring Amanpour whose arrangement with the network includes “primetime documentaries on international subjects.”

In addition, “World News” EP Jon Banner will now oversee the political and special events units. Special events EP Marc Burstein will now report to Banner.

The full memo with more specifics after the jump…

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Phyllis McGrady To Leave Fulltime Role at ABC News

McGrady_7.20.jpgVeteran ABC News producer and executive Phyllis McGrady is leaving the network early next year and will become a consultant for ABC News.

The announcement was made by ABC News president David Westin this afternoon.

“Phyllis came to me several weeks ago, saying that she felt it was time for her to change her life a bit,” Westin writes. “There are other things she wants to do in addition to making the contributions she does here.”

McGrady joined ABC in 1977 as a writer and field producer for “Good Morning America.” She went on to become EP of the show in 1984, when it was the #1 breakfast show. She also co-created the newsmagazines “Primetime Live” and “Turning Point.” In 2000, McGrady was named SVP of Early Morning, Primetime and News Program Development, overseeing “Good Morning America,” “20/20,” “Primetime Live,” “Peter Jennings Reporting” specials, and the John Stossel specials. Since 2007 she’s been SVP of Creative Development responsible for developing programs for ABC’s TV and digital news outlets including this summer’s “Boston Med.”

I his note to staff, Westin writes, “Phyllis is not leaving and she’s not retiring. She and I will spend a bit of time figuring out who should take over some of her current responsibilities.”

The note, after the jump…

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ABC News’ ‘Boston Med’ Gets Rave Reviews

BostonMed_6.23.jpgABC News debuts its newest summer series tonight. “Boston Med,” which chronicles the lives of doctors, nurses and patients, has been getting some good write-ups of late:

Associated Press: “…a bittersweet reminder of what broadcast news divisions can do at their best.”

New York Daily News: “It’s the best of what television can offer, by far, and a model of what the medium should strive to be.”

Variety: “…it’s another welcome respite from the summer stupids… Whatever the Nielsen chart might finally indicate, consider ‘Boston Med’ another successful operation by Mr. Wrong.”

• Newsday: “Nothing seems wasted, nothing is superfluous. As a result, the hugely important work these people do is honored in every shot.”

Of the feedback, EP Terry Wrong tells TVNewser, “I think this is our best series yet so it’s gratifying that a group that watches so much TV, of all stripes, gets the nuances in the crafting and appreciates what they are seeing.”

At a press screening last month, Wrong said ABC’s future commitment to the medical docudrama might depend on the ratings of “Boston Med.” Phyllis McGrady ABC News SVP of Creative Development tells TVNewser she’s just looking toward the next eight weeks: “‘Boston Med’ continues the ABC News tradition of supporting long-form series — invigorating the documentary genre and bringing as many people as we can to watch each week is a part of our mission,” says McGrady.

Earlier on TVNewser: World’s Second Face Transplant Patient Featured on ABC’s ‘Boston Med’

World’s Second Face Transplant Patient Featured on ABC’s ‘Boston Med’

Med_6.1.jpg

In January of 2009, an ABC News crew began documenting the story of Joseph Helfgot, an entertainment executive who needed a heart transplant. Helfgot would never receive a new heart, but instead would donate his own organs to save others — including his face for the world’s second face transplant.

ABC News, and the crews assembling what would become “Boston Med,” suddenly had quite a story to tell.

This morning, after a screening on the 22nd Floor of ABC News headquarters in New York, Susan Whitman-Helfgot talked about how the end of her husband’s life meant a new beginning for Jim Maki. “Within 24 hours we went from being a recipient to a donor family,” says Whitman-Helfgot. And the ABC cameras — producers who shoot — captured it all.

Transplant recipient Maki was impressed with ABC’s documentation of his surgery. The families were comforted by the fact they had the opportunity to turn the cameras away. “We, all of us, had the option to say ‘no more,’” says Whitman-Helfgot. “I think I said it a few times,” added Dr. Bo Pomahac, who lead a team of up to 35 doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists in the day-long procedure.

Executive producer Terry Wrong said this is just one of the aspects that makes “Boston Med” much more a documentary than a reality series.

“We’ve had people pull out during editing,” says Wrong, “but it doesn’t happen to often.”

And just as TV viewing habits have changed over the past decade — when ABC News presented the first-of-its-kind medical documentary “Hopkins 24/7″ — Wrong says “Boston Med” has evolved, too.

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ABC Considering Midday Newscast?

The NY Observer’s Felix Gillette reports that ABC News execs have been considering a “midday news and lifestyle program that would be one part ‘Good Morning America,’ one part ‘The View.’” From the NYO:

How ABC stations would fit the new show into their daytime line-up remains unclear–and it’s still a strong possibility that the project will fizzle out long before it ever makes it onto the air. That said, according to our sources, ABC News executives have had preliminary discussions with internal and external candidates about what a midday news show might possibly look like.

Two names rumored for the gig: Ashleigh Banfield, who as we reported recently joined ABC News with a vague set of future responsibilities, and Tamron Hall, who’s been a prominent dayside anchor on MSNBC. MSNBC had no comment. ABC SVP of creative development Phyllis McGrady is said to be overseeing the project.

More: A knowledgeable source tells us “there’s nothin’ doing” with regards to any midday newscast.

arrow_hp.jpgThis story appeared on the mediabistro.com Morning Newsfeed. Click here to subscribe and get the morning’s media news in your inbox.

20/20 Moves Up

stossel_vargas.jpgFor nearly 20 years, ABC’s 20/20 has been a staple of ABC’s Friday night programming, airing as a late news lead-in at 10et/9ct. That’s about to change. In a memo to staffers today, ABC VP Phyllis McGrady announced the news show will be on two hours earlier at 8et/7ct. “Our West Coast colleagues want the strong lead-in that 20/20 will provide to help launch some new and returning shows on Friday night,” writes McGrady. “You should be proud that the company recognizes the enduring strength of 20/20.”