Tuesday, February 01, 2005

ABC News Swap: Trade Ya Stephanopoulos for Ted Koppel

ABC's 11:30 pm time slot has been eyed lasciviously by Disney brass for some time. That's prime eyball real estate up in that bitch, G. Granted, Ted Koppel has some prestige value, but, as we all know, prestige and a dollar will get you The New York Times. Prestige and $40 will get you an eighth of "the kind bud." The herb that will make you perturb. Er, so we hear. According to Newsday (link via IWantMedia):

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Above: One goddamn fine head of hair.

"Beyond the confines of 'Nightline's' Washington-based DeSales Street studios, (journo gravitas) has not always made Koppel a popular man at ABC News, but it has made him a respected one."

And the hair, true believers, we mustn't forget the unflappable Mr. K's moptop.

"'Nightline' has remained one of TV news' shining jewels over 25 years, while Koppel and a cadre of trusted colleagues have managed to freshen up their show without ever dumbing it down.

"Now, get ready for the explosion, and, in TV news terms, this could be a particularly interesting one. Top Disney management has sought -- and last week received -- proposals from all of ABC's divisions about possible uses for the 11:30 p.m. time slot. ABC News has asked to expand 'Nightline' from a half-hour to an hour, with the possibility of going live from Times Square studios (the show has always originated in Washington and is taped earlier on each broadcast day). There also is speculation that the show will not only go 'lighter,' to cite the word of one source, but use two anchors -- one female and one male.

"And the male anchor? Sources say Koppel, who has fought the changes, will almost certainly leave 'Nightline' before the end of the year, when his contract is up. But now, the name that has been floated as his replacement is George Stephanopoulos. The anchor of 'This Week' for the past couple of years, Stephanopoulos has subbed frequently on 'Nightline,' and has built his 'live' chops on 'Good Morning, America.' This, of course, would leave a vacancy at 'This Week' -- after 'Nightline,' ABC's most prestigious show, the one originally hosted by David Brinkley."

Ah, nothing like the prestige of intellectual hot oil wrestling with the likes of that reptilian mini Metternich and Secretary of State wannabe, Fareed Zakaria and that glacial DC Establishment apologist, Cokie Roberts (Averted Gaze) at 9 AM on a Sunday morning. Yum-- Yum. Our mouths water at the prospect. Who could leave that hott action behind?

"And who might fill that role? Ted Koppel, who, sources say, could be named the new host of 'This Week' if Disney accepts the dramatic proposal for a relaunch of 'Nightline.'"

So, in other words, simplified greatly, as we are wont to do, Stephanopoulos is stabbing another colleague in the back a la the Clinton Administration. Should Koppel accept this deal, it is a definite demotion in favor of the younger soft spoken wafer thin Greek boy.

"At least from ABC News' perspective, it's easy to see the symmetric appeal of this trade-off, should it come to pass. Since replacing Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson at once top-ranked 'This Week,' Stephanopoulos has worked hard, gotten a few scoops and completely eradicated any notion that he is a Democratic Party lackey."

To be sure. George Stephanopoulos is no lackey to the Democratic Party, he is a lackey to a greater authority, namely -- the George Stephanopoulos party, of which he is a charter member, treasurer and a faithful adherent. All Georgie boy's loyalties therein lie.

"... Sources caution the discussions remain in flux, and 'Nightline' could completely disappear by next year -- although that's now considered unlikely because Disney has no entertainment show (or host) that could step into the breech. Also, several other 'names' have been floated as Koppel replacements -- Bob Costas, Bryant Gumbel -- although someone like Costas is considered unattainable."

That's not what The Corsair has heard. Corsair sources confirm that for a bottle of Wild Irish Rose in a brown paper lunchbag, a Thai stick and an stiff, authoritative bitch slap, Costas will "love you long time."

"'Nightline,' says one observer, 'has got to get someone a generation younger than , but then the question is: Is this person smart enough and flexible enough, and does he or she have the live-TV gene?'"

"All this, naturally, begs the question: Why does Koppel want off the show that he helped make into an institution, and a laudatory one at that? There are a host of reasons, but, most of all, Koppel has long wanted to step back from the daily grind -- the dream of many working journalists -- to develop a deeper, richer body of work."

And, of course, deeper, richer body to his hair.

Artiel here.

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