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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Iger’

Barbara Walters to Retire May 16

barbara waltersBarbara Walters‘ final day co-hosting “The View” will be May 16, ABC News announced this morning. Walters, who announced her retirement last year, will also be celebrated that night with a two-hour primetime special highlighting her life and career.

In a statement, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said it is “hard to imagine television without her.”

“In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters,” Iger said. “She’s a dear friend and colleague as well as someone I deeply admire, and it’s impossible to fully convey her impact and influence on television. She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years.”

Walters will continue to executive produce the view and will contribute to ABC News as news warrants. She will talk about her final broadcast on “The View” this morning.

>Update: Video of Walters’ announcement on “The View” is after the jump. Read more

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Ben Sherwood to Succeed Anne Sweeney as President of Disney/ABC Television Group

Ben SherwoodABC News president Ben Sherwood will succeed Anne Sweeney as the president of the Disney/ABC Television group next year, Disney announced today. Sherwood will begin the transition immediately and take on the role of Co-President of Disney/ABC while also overseeing ABC News until his successor is named.

“Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen. He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

Sherwood has been the president of ABC News since 2010. Under his leadership, “Good Morning America” snapped the “Today” show’s 16-year winning streak. In a statement, he thanked Iger and Sweeney for their leadership, and ABC News staffers for their dedication.

“I must also thank the remarkable people of ABC News who inspire me every day with their creativity, dedication and spirit. I will keep their commitment to excellence and their fierce competitiveness firmly in mind as I move forward to meet this exciting new challenge,” he said.

The official announcement, as well as the internal note to ABC staffers from Sweeney, is after the jump.

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Here’s the Reason Behind CNN’s ‘Poaching’ From ABC

ABC-News-Logo-1cnn logo_304x200

The New York Post reports on a Disney shareholder who asked Disney CEO Bob Iger whether his ABC News division is becoming a “training ground” for talent who eventually flee to CNN. Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo, Bill Weir, and John Berman have all left ABC for CNN in the last 18 months. Rachel Nichols also left Disney-owned ESPN for CNN.

One key reason for the departures, which was not mentioned in the NYPost story, is that former ABC News VP of talent and strategy Amy Entelis is now head of talent and content development at CNN. Others who’ve made the move to CNN include SVP Vinnie Malhotra who spent 15 years at ABC and ESPN, and Andrew Morse who also spent 15 years at ABC and is now CNN’s SVP of domestic newsgathering.

Iger is unfazed by the departures, telling shareholders ABC has “a deep bench,” adding “in some cases we were trying to make way for a new generation, a new crop of talent.” The Post reports Iger singled out ABC News reporter David Muir, who is rumored to be a contender to replace Diane Sawyer on “World News.”

Anne Sweeney Leaving Disney/ABC

anne sweeneyAnne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, is leaving the company in January.

“The past 18 years at Disney have been the highlight of my executive career,” Sweeney said in a statement. “But as wonderful as the experience has been, there has always been a nagging voice in the back of my head pushing me to step out of the comfort zone of the executive ranks and more directly into the creative arena that enticed me to TV in the first place.”

Sweeney, 55, says she finally listened to that voice and will learn the art of television directing.

In her current role Sweeney oversaw a vast collection of the ABC portfolio, including the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, and the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

Sweeney’s departure will come three months before Bob Iger steps down as CEO of Disney where he will remain executive chairman. “I am so thankful to Bob Iger for his leadership, guidance and his friendship over the years,” Sweeney says.

Iger tells The Hollywood Reporter‘s Janice Min, who first reported the news, he was taken aback when Sweeney told him her plans. “She said, ‘I’m going to shock you,’ and then I started guessing. [I guessed] cooking in Italy.”

Read the news release, after the jump…

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FBN Busy Bagging Billionaires

Fox Business Network is having a pretty good week in the business booking battle. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn was interviewed by Liz Claman yesterday, with Equity group Investments chairman Sam Zell talking to Neil Cavuto not long after. Today former CBS and Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is talking to Cavuto, while Friday Disney chief Bob Iger will appear on the channel.

To be clear, Icahn and Zell do appear with some frequency on the financial news channels (Karmazin somewhat less so), but having them all in less than 24 hours is somewhat notable. Icahn was on CNBC and Bloomberg TV just a few weeks ago, while Zell made the rounds a few months back. Icahn, you may recall, was at the center of a “Billionaire Brawl” that started on CNBC in January. Amazingly, that on-air fight between Bill Ackman and Icahn is still playing out today, as is clear in the FBN interview.

WATCH:

Moguls, Journalists Descend On Sun Valley For Media/Technology Confab

This week, the world’s media, entertainment and technology moguls are converging on Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual Allen & Company shindig. What happens in Sun Valley usually stays in Sun Valley, but according to a number of reporters in attendance, we can glean a few things.

For starters, CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw and CNN’s Erin Burnett are all attending, with Rose and Brokaw scheduled to moderate (secret) panels. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, FBN’s Dennis Kneale and Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman are getting as close as they can to cover the action for their networks.

In terms of moguls, all the usual suspects are there: 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, along with sons Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch (above), Disney’s Bob Iger, ESPN’s John Skipper, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, CBS’ Les Moonves, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IAC’s Barry Diller among many, many others.

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Anne Sweeney, Dick Clark Honored at Mirror Awards

Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications’ annual Mirror Awards today.

“ABC World News” weekend anchor David Muir emceed the event, which honors the year’s best media reporting. He told TVNewser being on hand for Sweeney’s award was “an honor for me.”

“Sweeney is one of those rare corporate titans — the most powerful woman in Hollywood — who cares so much about journalism,” Muir told TVNewser. “It’s really had an impact on me watching someone who is at the top of the industry carry the mantle of journalism.”

In his remarks, Muir said it was rare to have someone so busy “give as much to the news division as Anne does,” recalling her reaction to a dangerous situation he and his crew were in while covering the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Egypt. Read more

As Promised, Activists Criticize MSNBC at Comcast Shareholders Meeting

As they promised they would, activists took aim at MSNBC at the Comcast shareholders meeting, forcing CEO Brian Roberts to respond.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Paul Bond has some of the details:

“If you sit back and think about it,” said Borelli, “why would a conservative person in any state want their money to go pay for Al Sharpton’s salary? Have you contemplated the damage that MSNBC and its biased coverage is doing to the overall Comcast business?”

Roberts didn’t buy the premise, given all of the distributors – Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, DirecTV, Verizon, AT&T – that carry MSNBC.

“Ultimately, I think, giving diversity of voices has been what cable has stood for all these years, whether it’s one side or another, so I don’t think in the long run it will change the trajectory of Comcast cable,” Roberts said.

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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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Disney CEO Defends ABC News, ESPN Standards At Shareholders Meeting

The Disney annual shareholders meeting is always an interesting one to listen to. With such a wide range of shareholders, from various public and private groups, from across the country and across all persuasions, some of the questions can be… memorable.

There was a question a few years back when a shareholder demanded that the 1946 film “Song of the South,” now considered to be incredibly racist by today’s standards, be released on DVD.

This year, one of the questions focused on “the liberal bias” of ABC News and ESPN.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative research institute (and Disney shareholder) sent general counsel Justin Danhof to the meeting on its behalf.

Citing Brian Ross‘ erroneous Tea Party report after the Aurora shooting, and a comment from an ESPN columnist about Republicans, Danhof told Disney CEO Bob Iger:

“Liberal bias pervades Disney’s media outlets, it’s time to stop denying the bias and do something about it. Our company’s leaders should show the intellectual honesty to admit it exists, it is a problem, and let’s start working together on a solution.”

Danhof’s question was greeted by the crowd of shareholders with applause, and boos. Iger responded frankly, but deftly:
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