A Three Hour Tour
Ted Koppel and Crew to Join Discovery [NY Times]
I was wondering, in this day and age, with the passing of Peter Jennings, the retirement of Dan Rather, the end of days of Brokaw and Koppel, what would become of the age and image of the broadcast news anchorman?
"Mr. Koppel said that no broadcast network would be interested in the kinds of programs he and his team want to make, which he said would occasionally take the form of a one-hour documentary-style special followed by a two-hour town-meeting discussion. If he asked for three hours of prime time on ABC or even on a cable news network like CNN, Mr. Koppel said, he would have had no chance of success.
'That kind of programming simply doesn't fit anymore' on network television, he
Ted Koppel and long time executive producer, Tom Bettag, have accepted a deal to work with Discovery. Several other members of the "Nightline" team will also be part of the new programming at Discovery. Although talks initially looked like Koppel's vision for hard-hitting, documentary style news might find a new home via HBO without the competing commercial interests and pressures to entertain younger demographics, Koppel felt Discovery was ultimately "a better fit."
I'm interested to see what kind of future programming comes from this new deal. Mr. Koppel has been given the title of managing editor over at Discovery, a title he says applies only to his team and not to Discovery programming as a whole. I wonder if public broadcasting's "Frontline" or cable's "The History Channel" might provide some similarities or precedent. In any case, I wish him well and hope to stay tuned (even though, I myself have neither HBO or extended cable).
The NY Times article mentions that until now, some of the most popular programming at Discovery has been documentaries on sharks. Alas, in broadcast TV, even the dinosaurs are on Discovery.