James Goldston Tapped To Be ABC News President

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 5:50am PDT

James GoldstonABC made a pro forma announcement this morning, officially naming ABC News SVP James Goldston to replace Ben Sherwood as president of the news division. Last month, when Sherwood was promoted to co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, following Anne Sweeney’s surprising decision to step down as president of the Disney/ABC Television Group to become a TV director, the list of possible Sherwood replacements read like this:

1) James Goldston

2) James Goldston

3) James Goldston

abc-news110915165209Goldston’s the guy credited with saving Nightline from oblivion, and turning Good Morning America into the franchise that deposed NBC’s Today as king of the morning show ratings — though Goldston already had been upped to Sherwood’s No. 2 guy, and Tom Cibrowski, who’d worked with Goldston on GMA, had been promoted to GMA chief when the program actually went in for the kill. Discussions about Goldston generally include the expression “golden gut” and he is said to be well-liked in the news division. He’s also considered so valuable to the news operation that discussion of Sherwood-replacement plans didn’t seem to include any other names.

Related: Q&A: Incoming Disney/ABC TV Group Co-Chairman Ben Sherwood
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ABC’s ‘World News With Diane Sawyer’ Celebrates 1 Million Facebook ‘Likes’: Video

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 1:44pm PDT

ABC‘s World News With Diane Sawyer posted a video touting the fact it hit 1 million Facebook “likes” and is the only broadcast alg-abc-diane-sawyer-jpgnetwork newscast that’s grown this season to date in the news demo. NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams is up 5% season to date among ages 18-49 while remaining flat in the older 25-54 news demo.  Conversely, Sawyer’s newscast is up 4% in the news demo and flat among 18-49ers. CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley is up 7% in overall viewers but down 5 % in the news demo and 3% with the younger group. Williams newscast is up 8% in total viewers and Sawyer’s is up 3%. Yes, counterintuitively, more people are watching broadcasts evening news this TV season,  including an average of 9.52 million watching Williams, 8.34 million watching Sawyer, and 7.27 million watching Pelley. In the news demo, Williams remains the front-runner, standing firm at 2.4 million 25- to 54-year-old viewers; Sawyer’s now up to 2.19 million and Pelley is clocking 1.81, season to date. Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘GMA’, Sam Champion Weigh In On Josh Elliott’s ‘GMA’ Departure For NBC Sports (Video)

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 7:03am PDT

Josh Elliott Leaves Good Morning American For NBC Sports

UPDATE, 6:40 AM: GMA gang this morning told viewers that Josh Elliott is leaving the show to go to work for NBC Sports, marking the second successful poaching of a GMA cast member by NBCU, and that he would be replaced as news anchor by Amy Robach, who was on the scene –  Elliott himself was on “vacation.” Meanwhile, over at NBC, Al Roker publicly congratulated Elliot, via Twitter, for his “conscious uncoupling” from GMA/ABC. Watch here:

ABC US News | ABC Business News
UPDATE, 6:30 AM: Josh Elliott‘s former Good Morning America colleague Sam Champion weighed in this morning on Elliott’s announced exit from the ABC morning infotainment show to go to work for NBC Sports. Champion, who was also poached by NBCU and now works at The Weather Channel, called it “a great opportunity for Josh’s heart,” adding, “I know that fans of GMA are not loving it.” Watch here:

PREVIOUS, SUNDAY PM: After an intense negotiation with ABC NewsGood Morning America news anchor Josh Elliott is leaving the network for NBC Sports. ABC News wasted no time in announcing his replacement: Amy Robach, who has been part of the GMA team for some time, including filling in for Robin Roberts at various moments when she was out for medical reasons.  Elliott, who had been making about $1.2 million salary at GMA, turned down an offer to stay with the show for $4-$5 million.  After his fellow anchor Lara Spencer nailed down a lucrative multiyear contract Thursday, Elliott raised his ask to $10 million a year. With Elliott, NBC is getting a strong sports guy — a next generation Bob Costas — who previously worked at ESPN. Per the terms of Elliott’s exit, he cannot appear on NBC’s Today for six months according to people familiar with the situation. Elliott is the second member of the ensemble team that put GMA in first place in the morning show ratings race, and to depart for an NBCUniversal property. In December, NBCU successfully poached longtime GMA weatherman Sam Champion who is now a bigwig at their Weather Channel. In much the same way they did today, ABC announced Champion’s replacement, Ginger Zee, minutes after it was reported that he was leaving. In the wake of Champion’s departure, GMA has scored some of its highest ratings ever. Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Nightline’ Names JuJu Chang Co-Anchor Replacing NBC News-Bound Cynthia McFadden

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT

UPDATE, 1 PM: That didn’t take long. ABC News has promoted special JujuChangcorrespondent and substitute anchor Juju Chang to co-anchor of Nightline joining fellow anchors Dan Harris and Dan Abrams. News division president Ben Sherwood sent a memo to staff announcing the changes today, bidding a fond farewell to McFadden. Check out the full memo below the original story.

PREVIOUS, 12:31 PM: ABC‘s Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden has CynthiaMcFaddendeparted for NBC News, where she will become senior legal and investigative correspondent. McFadden spent the past 20 years at ABC News as an anchor and correspondent before being named a correspondent for the network’s late-night news broadcast. She has served as Nightline’s co-anchor for the past nine years. Based in New York, McFadden will join the NBC News investigative unit and she will contribute across all broadcasts and platforms of NBC News. “Cynthia McFadden is a rare talent — passionate about journalism, compassionate in her view of the world, truly gifted in the art of storytelling,” NBC News chief Deborah Turness  said in today’s announcement. Said McFadden: “While it is not easy leaving the Nightline anchor chair, the opportunity NBC offered to make a deep dive into the kind of reporting I am most passionate about — legal and investigative — was just too appealing to resist,” McFadden said. Read More »

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Incoming Disney/ABC TV Group President Ben Sherwood On Getting The Big Job, His Learning Curve & ABC Topper Paul Lee

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 12:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ben Sherwood ABC NewsIt has been a whirlwind of three months for Ben Sherwood. In December, he signed a new long-term contract with ABC News, which he had led since December 2010. Now he has been given the keys to a much bigger Disney TV kingdom, named the successor to Anne Sweeney as co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group. “It was as quick as it seems,” Sherwood said of the hiring process. He said he learned the surprising news that Sweeney would be stepping down in February 2015 to become a TV director along with everyone else when she and Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger made the announcement less than two weeks ago. “There was a very clear succession plan,” Sherwood said. “(Iger) had a number of conversations with people internally and reached the decision pretty quickly.” However, Sherwood acknowledges that the plan may have been hatched over the six-month period in which Iger and Sweeney had been discussing her exit before making it public.

disneyabc2Sherwood could be working with ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, who had been negotiating a new contract, something Sherwood welcomes. “I’ve worked with Paul for the past few years, and I know he is an incredibly bright and talented guy,” Sherwood said. “He’s had share of hits and is primed for more, and I’m really excited about this development cycle.”

As for his own replacement atop ABC News, “we follow the same blueprint and have a robust succession process,” Sherwood said, noting that “we have a deep bench at ABC News.” He called fining a successor “a top priority.”

Related: All Eyes On James Goldston As ABC News Looks To Replace Ben Sherwood

“Honored” by the new job, Sherwood said he plans to approach it as a journalist in the next 12 months when he will be learning the ropes as a co-president (and understudy) to Disney/ABC Television Group alongside Sweeney. “I have a great deal of curiosity, and, as a journalist, I’ll be asking a lot of questions, I’ll be digging deep and learning a lot.” He has ideas he wants to bring to the job overseeing a portfolio of networks but declined to share them. “I approach this with humility, and I think it would presumptuous for me to lay out particular ideas,” he said. Read More »

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All Eyes On James Goldston As ABC News Looks To Replace Ben Sherwood

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 11:23am PDT

James GoldstonWith ABC News chief Ben Sherwood named today to replace Anne Sweeney as president of Disney/ABC Television Group, betting money is on James Goldston, senior vice president of ABC News, stepping in to replace Sherwood at the helm of the news division. ABC News declined to comment.

Related: Q&A: Inoming Disney/ABC TV Group President Ben Sherwood

abc-news110915165209Goldston’s the guy credited with saving Nightline from oblivion, and turning Good Morning America into the franchise that deposed NBC’s Today as king of the morning show ratings —  though Goldston already had been upped to Sherwood’s No. 2 guy, and Tom Cibrowski, who’d worked with Goldston on GMA, had been promoted to GMA chief when the program actually went in for the kill. Discussions about Goldston generally include the expression “golden gut” and he is said to be well-liked in the news division. He’s also considered so valuable to the news operation that discussion of Sherwood-replacement plans don’t seem to include any other names.
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Almin Karamehmedovic Named ‘Nightline’ Exec Producer

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 7:13am PST

abcnightlineAlmin Karamehmedovic has been named executive producer of Nightline, ABC News said this morning. Current EP Jeanmarie Condon has been named senior exec producer of content and development for the news division. Both will report to James Goldston, ABC’s SVP News. Condon will develop a range of special projects and series for broadcast, digital and cable, focusing on enterprise reporting and on the division-wide deep-dive journalism she is known for spearheading, ABC president Ben Sherwood said in this morning’s announcement.  She will continue to oversee Nightline Primetime.

Karamehmedovic has been senior producer, then senior broadcast producer of Nightline for the past four years. In 2001, he became one of the first journalists to gain access to Tora Bora, Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and in 2003 he embedded with the U.S. Army during the invasion of Iraq and spent much of the next three years there. In 2005, he was one of the first journalists to travel to Darfur/Sudan to report on the genocide there, and in 2006 he covered the war in Southern Lebanon, Sherwood noted. Read More »

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ABC News Adds Schiavocampo, Kristol

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 6:34am PST

abc-news110915165209ABC News president Ben Sherwood made it official this morning, announcing Mara Schiavocampo has joined ABC News as a New York-based correspondent. Schiavocampo, who’d been with NBC since 2007, becoming Early Today anchor in ’10 and also anchoring MSNBC’s First Look, left that network in December. At ABC News she will be a New York-based correspondent reporting on all platforms.

One day earlier, George Stephanopoulos announced on This Week that Bill Kristol, the editor and publisher of The Weekly Standard, had joined ABC News as a contributor. Kristol’s decade-long contributor relationship with Fox News ended last summer — owing to a cooling of his relationship with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, or rather because FNC made a lot of changes and no longer needed his services and there was no cooling at all, depending on your source.
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ABC News Adds Australia’s Ten Network Correspondent Hamish Macdonald

By | Thursday January 2, 2014 @ 7:41am PST

abc newsABC News president Ben Sherwood announced this morning that Australia’s Ten Network senior foreign correspondent/anchor Hamish Macdonald is joining his division as an international affairs correspondent based in London. Macdonald resigned from Ten in September; his exit back then was described in press reports as a “shock,” what with Ten having planned to use him as the face of its Sochi Winter Games coverage. His three-year contract with that network was set to end in February of  ’14, according to those reports.

“After three wonderful years at Ten, I have decided to move on. Thursday 26 September will be my last day on-air… after eight years of almost non-stop travel, I am hoping to take a little down-time now to consider which option to pursue next,” Macdonald tweeted in September.

Here’s Sherwood’s memo: Read More »

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HLN’s Ryan Smith Lands At ABC News As Legal Analyst

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 7:25am PST

Ryan Smith will start in January as a New York-based correspondent and legal abcnews__130401171754-150x62analyst, complementing the work of ABC News‘s chief legal analyst and Nightline anchor Dan Abrams, ABC News president Ben Sherwood said in a memo to staff today. Ryan will also offer legal analysis on ESPN. Smith had until recently anchored HLN’s Evening Express, which was among the programs dumped last month by HLN’s new-ish GM Albie Hecht as part of a rebranding of that network. (Evening Express was, ironically, replaced by What Would You Do! — the ABC News show to which HLN bought cable TV rerun rights about a year ago. ) From Sherwood’s memo:

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UPDATE: News Networks Plan Full Coverage Of Mandela Memorial

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 4:31pm PST

mandela4th UPDATE, 4:31 PM: NBC, ABC and CBS  and cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC intend to go early, long and live with the Nelson Mandela memorial tomorrow morning. Broadcasting the NBC Nightly News tonight and Tuesday from Pretoria, Brian Williams will front the network and MSNBC’s coverage of the memorial at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium starting at 1 AM PT. Among the heads of state in attendance, President Obama, who traveled to South Africa today with the First Lady, is scheduled to speak. Former Presidents Carter, Bush II and Clinton will be there too as will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama will fly back to the U.S. later in the day. ABC’s Good Morning America hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will anchor their network’s special report coverage at the same time from NYC with Terry Moran and Byron Pitts reporting from South Africa. CBS’ Anne-Marie Green will cover the memorial from New York during the network’s Up To The Minute show in the early hours. All the nets plan to stream the memorial on their websites and platforms.

Related: R.I.P. Nelson Mandela
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ABC News Parts Company With Katie Couric

By | Friday November 22, 2013 @ 2:47pm PST

ABC News and Katie Couric are breaking up. Couric, meanwhile, is close to a deal with Yahoo which would include Katie Couric ABC News Exitdoing an interview show for the Internet giant. Yahoo, ironically, has a news-sharing contract with ABC News.

ABC News was on the hook for a much smaller portion of Couric’s reported $20 million paycheck with the company than is the syndication operation, with which she has a deal for her daytime talk show Katie. The ABC News gig was seen by some as a vanity thing tacked to her talk show by those who have noted she’s not done much for ABC News in the past year. Anyway, it’s no longer the case that ABC News will be paying part of her paycheck.

“Katie is an incredible journalist and this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up. Thanks to the powerful association between ABC News and Yahoo we know that Katie will continue to work closely with us and welcome her on our air anytime,” an ABC News exec with knowledge of the situation told Deadline. Yes, it sounded pretty don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out to us too.

Couric’s talk show is now in its second — and, it’s been widely speculated for some time, final — season, though syndication axes don’t generally fall until after all November sweep stats are in. The show has been plagued with exec producer changes and shifts in direction since its initial good launch, and station execs are not happy with the product. Most expect the show to end its run after fulfilling its two-year commitment with the ABC Stations in May. There had been speculation that ABC might try to get another year at a lower price while preparing a replacement, but that does not appear likely. Read More »

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ABC News’ Amy Robach: Double Mastectomy Revealed Second, Undetected Malignant Tumor

By | Friday November 22, 2013 @ 11:58am PST

ABC News’ Amy Robach, whose cancer diagnosis after an on-air mammogram made news, says her double mastectomy has revealed a second, previously undetected malignant tumor. “My prognosis is good, I got very lucky finding the cancer through our ABC sponsored mammogram and I got lucky choosing an aggressive approach, bilateral mastectomy, because while in surgery last week my surgeon found a second, undetected malignant tumor,” Robach said today in a memo to Good Morning America staff. Read More »

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ABC News: Elizabeth Vargas Being Treated for Alcohol-Related Illness

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 2:18pm PST

ABC’s 20/20 co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas, who has not been seen on the air since October 18, is being treated in a rehab facility for alcohol dependency, the news division confirmed this afternoon. “We are proud of the … Read More »

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UPDATE: ABC News’ Bill Weir Joins CNN, Which Says He’s Not Replacing Piers Morgan

By | Friday October 11, 2013 @ 2:15pm PDT

UPDATE, 2:15 PM: When ABC News put out word this morning that Nightline anchor Bill Weir was leaving ABC News for “another opportunity in the news business,” The Reporters Who Cover Television began preparing their “Weir Heads To CNN” reports, figuring there was a high likelihood he would follow colleagues Jake Tapper, Chris Cuomo and John Berman to the cable news network. The development bore the signs of another Amy Entelis strike. Entelis, a 30-year ABC News vet who left as VP Talent and Strategy, and who in January 2012 was named to the newly created position of SVP Talent and Content Development at CNN Worldwide, had been given credit for the hires of the aforementioned ABC News staffers. When, several hours later, CNN made the announcement it had in fact hired Weir as an anchor –  without naming any program — as well as Chief Innovation Correspondent, some of those reporters began to pick up Mediaite’s report, citing an unnamed source, that Weir had been promised all, or half, of Piers Morgan’s CNN time slot some time many months from now. CNN issued a statement “Bill Weir was not brought to CNN to replace Piers Morgan.” That seemed to put a lid on it, though some media reports continued to mull Morgan’s future at the network.

“At a time when CNN is expanding the definition of news, the former anchor of ABC News’ Nightline will work with producers to develop original programming across the schedule,” CNN had explained in its Weir announcement.  “Bill’s range, sensibility and curiosity set him apart,” chimed in CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker. “He brings a unique storytelling style, perspective and sense of humor to CNN, and he will be a key player as we continue to expand our lineup.” Read More »

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Bill Weir Leaving ABC News, Dan Harris To Replace Him As ‘Nightline’ Co-Anchor

By | Friday October 11, 2013 @ 6:54am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ABC News President Ben Sherwood made the announcement this morning, noting that Bill Weir gave notice that he was departing “for another opportunity in the news business.” Dan Harris, who has co-anchored the weekend edition of Good Read More »

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George Will Leaves ABC News For Fox News After Three Decades

By | Tuesday October 1, 2013 @ 12:21pm PDT

Political columnist and longtime ABC News analyst George Will has jumped to Fox News Channel, the network announced today. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author will provide analysis and commentary in daytime and primetime programming as … Read More »

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Erle Norton Joins ABC News Digital

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 7:38am PDT

Erle Norton has joined ABC as exec producer of ABC News Digital. The memo from ABC News president Ben Sherwood:

I’m delighted to share that Erle Norton joins us today as the new Executive Producer of ABC News Digital, overseeing editorial and video operations across ABCNews.com.

Growing ABC News Digital is one of our most important priorities. Erle will work closely with Joe Ruffolo and the product, editorial and video teams to further enhance the editorial experience and to ensure greater integration across all our platforms. And he’s charged with developing our lifestyle, tech and enterprise verticals; continuing to improve the user experience on mobile and tablet devices; and expanding live stream and digital video opportunities.

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Former ABC News Producer To Run For LA City Council

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 4:33pm PDT

Emmy-winning former ABC News Deputy Political Director Teddy Davis started his campaign today to become the next Los Angeles councilman for the city’s Fourth District. Stretching from Hancock Park to Hollywood, the district is currently represented by longtime Councilman Tom LeBonge, who can’t run again in 2015 because of term limits. While Davis can’t officially file as a candidate until next November, he did put in paperwork today to be able to start fundraising for the March 3, 2015, election. “It’s Official! I’m running for City Council from the part of LA where I grew up (CD 4),” the Los Feliz-born Davis tweeted today. Read More »

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