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Archives: March 2005

Koppel: In His Own Words

> WP: “I really don’t think there’s anything else at ABC I would find as interesting or as challenging…David offered me the opportunity to continue on ‘Nightline,’ but it would have to have been on the basis of a one-hour program, doing it live five days a week. I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I’m now at a stage of life where it’s not something I feel I can do any more.”

> AP:“Maybe they feel that it’s time to give somebody younger and willing to go downmarket a chance, but I’d only be speculating,” he said. “I hope they don’t go downmarket.”

> NYT: Koppel considered taking the This Week job. “It was a possibility and it’s certainly a fine platform and it’s an interesting broadcast. But by the same token, I really feel there are other things I would rather do.”

>USAT: “There have been a couple of bumps along the road,” he said. The Letterman incident “made Nightline a survivalist camp for a while.” But “there are all kinds of new pressures and new reasons why change is a good thing for Nightline and for ABC News.”

> AP: “I’m too much a reporter and a realist, and have been in this business too long, not to recognize that my salary is very high, particularly for someone who only does three days a week now.”

Koppel: Wire Stories & Reactions

> Associated Press: “Koppel was offered the chance to continue, or perhaps switch jobs with Sunday morning’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, but told Westin upon returning from a vacation this week that he wanted to leave.”

> Bloomberg: “Walt Disney Co.’s ABC broadcast television network plans to keep airing ‘Nightline” and doesn’t yet have a replacement for Koppel, 65, said ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider.”

> This Reuters story almost reads like an obituary…

Koppel’s Note To Viewers

Today’s Nightline e-mail includes a message from Ted Koppel: “t is my hope, as my friend and executive producer, Tom Bettag, and I plan to relinquish the reins of “Nightline” late next fall, that this broadcast will flourish for many years to come. We will be leaving it in the hands of a hugely talented staff. My on-air colleagues, Chris Bury, John Donvan, Michel Martin and Dave Marash are among the finest television journalists I have ever known.” Read the full e-mail after the jump…

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Schiavo: E-mailer Critiques

> A viewer wonders: “Around 10:50am on CNN, Daryn Kagan said: ‘A few moments ago, there was a moment of silence on the floor of the Florida state House. Let’s listen in to that.’ How do you listen to a moment of silence?”

> From an insider: “Tips started moving around the circle at aprox 9:45 (NBC sent out alerts to stations at about 9:48 that they were watching developments. NBC broke into local programming (commerical) with a special report at 9:56.”

> Johnny Dollar’s Place has posted instant transcript reactions from Fred Barnes, Jay Carney, Martin Frost, Judge Napolitano, John Kasich, Tom Downey, Willie Brown, and more.

> An e-mailer asks: “Anyone notice that the CBS News e-mail alerts are incredibly slow? MSNBC did it at 9:56, CNN at 10:02, and CBS at 10:54. What’s their problem?”

> Jeff Jarvis quotes a post on “And perhaps some mention is warranted that regardless of what her wishes may have ultimately been — I strongly suspect that to spend her dying days at the centre of a media circus was not among them.”

End Of An Era: Nightline Anchor Ted Koppel To Leave ABC News In December

koppel1.jpgABC News President David Westin broke the news in an e-mail to staffers this morning:

“After 42 years with ABC News and 25 years as anchor and managing editor of Nightline, Ted Koppel has advised me that he intends to leave the network at the end of his current contract, which expires on December 4th of this year. His long-time executive producer, Tom Bettag, will also be leaving.

“Ted, Tom, and I have had ongoing conversations for almost five years seeking to ensure Nightline’s continuity and to create an orderly transition. All of us are optimistic that both goals can and will be achieved. Ted and I have discussed a number of options under which he might have remained at Nightline or in some other capacity at ABC News, but Ted believes this is the right time for him to leave. As much as I will regret his leaving, he is firm in his conviction, and I respect his decision.

There will be ample opportunity, closer to the time of their departure, for me to express fully what Ted and Tom have meant to ABC News and to network news overall. For 25 years, Ted Koppel and Nightline have represented the best of what we can achieve in reporting on the important and difficult issues of our day – all done with the utmost intelligence and integrity. By making this announcement well in advance, Ted and Tom have provided us with the time we need to segue to the next chapter in the illustrious history of Nightline.”

Schiavo Dead: Notes

> E-mail your coverage notes of Schiavo’s death to, or use the tip box…

> CNN, MSNBC and FNC broke in between 9:52 and 9:54am, an e-mailer says.

> “In terms of network coverage, NBC was first, then ABC, and CBS has yet to come on (WCBS-TV in NY just did their own special report on it since CBS News didn’t do it).”

> CNN International began simulcasting the CNN/U.S. feed at 9:53am.

> The initial cable news net stories:,,

> The broadcast morning shows are updating their West Coast feeds…

> LostRemote is live-blogging the cable coverage. “10:30: Fox News guest alludes to Hitler and Nazi Germany’s starvation of millions of Jews, comparing it to Terri’s death.”

> CNN had planned for this day: “Life and Death: America Speaks Out” will air from 8 to 11pm. Larry King will host the ”live, three-hour national conversation about life and death.”

Schiavo: Every Day “The Plot Is The Same”

WP’s Howard Kurtz says the Schiavo saga “has become a media-driven spectacle that is increasingly about itself.” “This is getting to be like Groundhog Day,” he writes. “Every morning we get up and the plot is the same. Terri Schiavo is hanging on, the media circus gets under way, the publicity-seekers, headline-hunters, sign-savers and assorted kooks get their 15 seconds of attention.”

HLN Prime: The Costs Of Success

In the NYDN, Phyllis Furman sums up Nancy Grace’s HLN success: “Insiders note that CNN spared no expense on a massive marketing campaign touting the new Headline News prime-time. CNN Headline News chief Ken Jautz wouldn’t discuss numbers but said the Headline News revamp took ‘a sizable investment. It’s great to have a strong start.’”

> CNN sales chief Greg D’Alba says “there will be a heck of a lot more demand for Headline News.”

> “They are spending a lot more to produce the new prime versus the old stuff,” an e-mailer says. “They are spending roughly 3 times the money per pair of eyeballs than they were in FY04.”

News Corp Hopes To Launch Fox Biz This Year — But “Nothing Is Definite”

Quoting a brief mention in Variety: “As for the Fox News Channel financial news net spinoff, News Corp. exec VP of investor relations Gary Ginsberg said the conglom hopes to launch it sometime this calendar year but nothing is definite. He was speaking at the Banc of America Securities investors confab in Gotham.”

CNN May Move L.A. Bureau

“CNN executives are close to deciding whether the cable news channel will pull the plug on its signature Hollywood offices,” the L.A. Business Journal reported last week (subreq). What’s Happening At CNN links to a forum on, where an apparent CNN employee says the network has “found a new location on Wilshire and we should be moving in late 2006.”