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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Sherwood’

Vic Ratner to Retire from ABC News Radio

VIC RATNERAfter 40 years as one of the primary voices of ABC News, Vic Ratner is retiring at the end of the month.

DC-based Ratner joined ABC News Radio in 1973. He has covered every presidential campaign, political convention, inauguration and State of the Union address since. ABC News President Ben Sherwood calls Ratner, “our legendary work horse.”

“He has reported from 54 countries and 49 states,” writes Sherwood in a note to staff. “For the record book, only South Dakota — the Mt. Rushmore State — has escaped his attention.”

“I have been fortunate to work with and learn from exceptionally talented and innovative people at ABC,” says Ratner. “Thanks to all of you for the collaborative effort, which makes us the best.”

Ratner, a space enthusiast has also covered nearly every space shuttle launch, including live coverage of the ill-fated Challenger, which exploded after lift-off in January 1986. Listen here.

ABC is planning a send-off at the Washington bureau in late January.

HLN’s Ryan Smith Joins ABC News as Correspondent, Legal Analyst

ryan smith hlnHLN anchor Ryan Smith is joining ABC News as a New York-based correspondent and legal analyst. In his new role, which begins early next year, Smith will also provide legal analysis on ESPN’s programs and platforms.

“Ryan’s ability to cover a wide range of topics from the courtroom to the classroom has forged strong connections with viewers. I’m delighted he’ll now bring his many talents to ABC News and ESPN,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood wrote in a note to ABC staffers this morning.

Smith was most recently the anchor of HLN’s “Evening Express,” which was canceled last month. During his time at HLN, he also worked on “Morning Express” and as a host for InSession on truTV. He is a graduate of Columbia law school who previously worked as an entertainment and sports lawyer.

Smith will appear on all ABC News platforms beginning January 2. Read Sherwood’s full note after the jump. Read more

Ginger Zee to Lead Weather Coverage for ‘Good Morning America,’ ABC News

GingerZeeIn a few short years, Ginger Zee has gone from local meteorologist to weather anchor of the nation’s No. 1 morning show. With Sam Champion‘s departure from ABC, Zee will take over his weather responsibilities at “GMA” and across ABC News.

“Honored & humbled for my new opportunity at @GMA,” Zee tweeted this morning.

Zee, who has her AMS seal, joined ABC News two years ago from NBC-owned WMAQ in Chicago where she spent 5 years. Before that, Zee was at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids and WEYI in Flint, MI.

In his note to staff this morning, ABC News president Ben Sherwood writes, “Ginger always rushes straight toward the eye of any storm and weaves cutting-edge science with human emotion to elevate our coverage.”

Zee, who got engaged this summer to WNBC reporter Ben Aaron, attended Valparaiso University and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in meteorology.

Sam Champion Leaving ABC for The Weather Channel

samChampionFirst on TVNewser: Sam Champion, weatherman for ABC’s “Good Morning America” is leaving ABC and joining the Weather Channel. It’s the first talent departure at the No. 1 morning show in more than two years.

Champion, an ABC veteran, has been “Good Morning America’s” weather anchor since 2006. He joined ABC 25 years ago as weather anchor for WABC in New York.

Champion will be the face of the Weather Channel and also be the network’s managing editor. Beginning in the New Year, he’ll anchor a morning show that on many days will be hosted remotely.

“This is such an exciting opportunity,” Champion tells TVNewser. “It’s a dream job for a weather junky like me.”

Champion will be back on the show tomorrow morning and will sign off on Wednesday. “Robin, George, Lara and Josh are the best friends and colleagues you could hope for,” Champion adds. “I’ll always cherish the two and a half decades at ABC.”

The Weather Channel is part-owned by NBCUniversal, so don’t be surprised if you see Champion turn up on NBC News programs from time to time. He’ll also continue to host “Sea Rescue,” a weekly syndicated educational and informational program.

As Champion says goodbye, TVNewser has learned Robin Roberts is close to signing a deal to stay with ABC News.

> More: ABC News president Ben Sherwood‘s note to staff, and the Weather Channel release after the jump.

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Is NBC Entering Into ‘Potentially Dicey Ethical Territory?’

HannahAndersonNBCThe Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi wonders whether NBC is wading “into potentially dicey ethical territory” with a deal to produce a documentary about a sensational murder and kidnapping story that played out over the summer.

Hannah Anderson, the California teen kidnapped by a man who had murdered her mother and brother, is reportedly in negotiations for a documentary produced by NBC’s Peacock Productions.

Anderson has only done interviews with NBC News, which, the network says, it did not pay for. “NBC News never pays for interviews,” an NBC News spokeswoman tells Farhi.

If the deal goes ahead, Peacock Productions would compensate the Anderson family to license footage and personal materials for the documentary. ABC News stopped paying license fees for interviews in 2011. At the time ABC News president Ben Sherwood said the practice was something of a black eye on the news division.

“No matter how they couch it, they’re offering money in exchange for an exclusive story,” says Kevin Z. Smith, the chairman of the ethics committee of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The networks have figured out new and different approaches” to paying sources, he says.

It’s not clear when or where the doc will air. Peacock Productions often sells programs to non-NBCU networks.

Meahwhile, a new book on the tragedy is critical of Hannah Anderson’s story. The author, criminal profiler Chelsea Hoffman, says there are inconsistencies in Hannah’s NBC interviews and how the crimes occurred.

The Fusion Ticker: WSJ, Reuters, THR

  • Wall Street Journal: “If you want to reach the next generation, how can you not do something in English, when you know the second- and third-generation Hispanics have English as their main language?” said Isaac Lee, president of Univision News and chief executive of Fusion.

  • Reuters: Fusion will start in 20 million homes, a fraction of CNN’s 99 million, with a goal of reaching 60 million within five years, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said.

  • The Hollywood Reporter: The joint venture partners, Univision and ABC News, won’t say what this is costing, but similar ventures have run in excess of $100 million, and even with some shared resources, there has been no skimping on this startup.

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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Bill Weir Leaving ABC News, Dan Harris Named ‘Nightline’ Co-Anchor

bill weir“Nightline” anchor Bill Weir is leaving ABC News for “another opportunity in the news business,” president Ben Sherwood announced this morning. Effective immediately, he will be replaced on “Nightline” by Dan Harris.

Weir has worked at ABC since 2004, when he helped launch the weekend edition of “Good Morning America.” Harris replaced Weir on weekend “GMA” when Weir moved to “Nightline” in 2010.

“Bill’s style is singular; his voice unique; and we will miss him and, yes, his turkey frying safety tips,” Sherwood wrote in a note to ABC News this morning. “I know you all will join me in thanking him for his contributions and wishing him the best.”

In his new role, Harris will continue to co-anchor the weekend edition of “GMA” alongside Bianna Golodryga. We’re told that the announcement of Harris’ move to “Nightline” was met with long and loud applause at this morning’s editorial meeting.

Read Sherwood’s full note after the jump. Read more

Isaac Lee Named CEO of Fusion

isaac leeIsaac Lee has been named CEO of Fusion, the joint ABC News and Univision network set to launch later this month. In his new role, Lee will continue as president of Univision News, a position he has held since 2010.

“Isaac has been a tremendous partner in this endeavor since its inception,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a statement. “His deep understanding of content that is relevant to Latinos and millennials will be critical as we bring together diverse cultures, voices and viewpoints to serve this influential and growing audience in the months and years ahead.”

Beau Ferrari, the executive vice president of operations for Univision, has been serving as Fusion’s interim president. The network is set to launch on October 28, with the digital platform going live on October 21.

“I am honored to take on this increased role with the incredibly creative and ambitious team at Fusion,” said Isaac Lee. “I want to congratulate Beau Ferrari who has done an excellent job putting in place the building blocks for this network’s long term success. I look forward to continuing to work with him and our great partners at ABC and Univision to grow this into one of the most impactful media organizations.”

More from Fusion after the jump. Read more

‘Good Morning America’ Poised to Win First Season in 19 Years

GMAThe last time “Good Morning America” won a full TV season, “Fraiser” and “Picket Fences” were the top TV programs, Andre Agassi was the U.S. Open champion, and just-married Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley shared a kiss at the MTV Awards.

That was Sept. 1994. Charlie Gibson, Joan Lunden and Spencer Christian presided over “Good Morning America” from an Anywhere, USA living room set at ABC’s uptown studio.

These days the ABC breakfast show overlooks raucous Times Square, an outer reflection of the show’s inner energy. Gibson, Lunden, and Christian have been replaced by a cast of five: Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott, Sam Champion and Lara Spencer.

They chat and tease each other mercilessly through commercial breaks, so much so that it’s often not clear whether they’re on the air or not. During down moments in between segments, they shuffle through upcoming scripts, respond to tweets and mingle with guests and fans, some of whom are invited in from outside.

The anchors deflect questions about the ratings race by saying something obvious to anyone watching at home, or visiting behind the scenes, as TVNewser did Tuesday morning: we don’t think about that, because we’re just having so much fun. What’s not said is just how much the two go hand-in-hand.

With the final ratings to be released tomorrow, “Good Morning America” is poised to win its first full TV season since 1993-1994 in total viewers and the first since 1992-1993 in the A25-54 demo. And “GMA” continues to enjoy its largest season lead over “Today” in more than 21 years, since before Nielsen’s electronic database started in 1991. Season-to-date, “GMA” leads NBC’s “Today” show by +679,000 total viewers and +86,000 demo viewers. “Today” had a lock on American mornings for more than 16 years.

“We know our competition is strong and bringing it every day,” senior executive producer Tom Cibrowski told TVNewser. “We will never stop playing from behind and every day is a new battle. We know we cannot blink and we welcome the daily fight.”

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