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Old November 9th, 2005 #1
lawrence dennis
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lawrence dennis
Default Nightline was just the 'bait' put on between commercials, says resigning jew Koppel

His Night in the Sun
After 25 Years, Ted Koppel Is Leaving the Show That Did It His Way

Quote:
Tuesday, November 8, 2005; C01 -- ... Koppel announced his resignation in March after ABC News President David Westin decided he wanted "Nightline" -- the ratings of which have been slipping in recent years -- to be live at 11:35 p.m. Koppel had no desire to work such a schedule, and always has argued that the program is live when it needs to be live and otherwise there is no point in having guests wait around all evening.

"At some point, it would probably be time to pull out anyway," says Koppel, who served notice five years ago that he and Bettag wanted to phase themselves out gradually. Koppel had hoped that Chris Bury would succeed him as anchor -- Bury and John Donvan will remain as correspondents, most likely joined by Vicki Mabrey from CBS -- and that former producer Leroy Sievers would replace Bettag. But management, which hired British journalist James Goldston to run the program, had other ideas.

"It's their broadcast in the final analysis," Koppel says. "I've always taken the position it's our job to make the program as attractive to the audience as we could possibly make it, but there are limits. You don't bring on dancing girls."

That's not an entirely frivolous comment, given that Koppel's competition includes Jay Leno and David Letterman. In fact, ABC tried to junk the show three years ago by luring Letterman from CBS. Koppel fought back, criticizing ABC and parent company Disney in a New York Times op-ed.

"I never questioned the corporation's right to do that," he says. "This is an industry, it's a business. We exist to make money. We exist to put commercials on the air. The programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap.

"If it is true that David Letterman can draw a lot more viewers than 'Nightline' and Ted Koppel, if you can make an extra $30 million or $50 million a year, I absolutely understand they not only have the right but the fiduciary obligation to do that. I just don't think they did it the best way in terms of the handling of it. We were among the last to learn about it. You just don't do that to people who have worked hard for you for a long time."

In his 42 years at ABC, and especially in his quarter-century at "Nightline," Koppel seemingly has conducted every kind of interview. He's talked to Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali, Larry Flynt and Ginger Rogers, Chuck D and Buzz Aldrin. He famously quizzed Gary Hart about adultery, told Michael Dukakis he just didn't get it and swatted down the racial views of baseball executive Al Campanis, who lost his job over the interview....
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