Koppel Not Headed To ‘This Week'
Talks between ABC News, former ‘Nightline' anchor end with no offer to host Sunday program
By Marisa Guthrie -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/20/2010 5:29:52 PM
According to multiple sources, talks to bring the former Nightline anchor back to the network as the host of the Sunday program have ended without an offer. Koppel was among several people network executives have been in discussions with about replacing Stephanopoulos, who left to replace Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America.
Sources say that ABC News President David Westin believed Koppel's camp had leaked reports of the talks. Westin was overheard complaining that it was a pattern that had made negotiations with Koppel difficult in 2005 when ABC News was in talks with him about re-formatting Nightline, the program he founded as a nightly update on the Iran hostage crisis.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that Koppel had been offered a one-year, $1 million deal to host This Week three Sundays a month. But ABC News denied that any offers had been made. Westin told Politico in an e-mail message that he was considering "a number of options." But he added, "I will pull back the veil to the limited degree of telling you--for the benefit of your readers--that just about every specific that you have is false."
Koppel's desire to bring his long-time producer Tom Bettag with him was a non-starter, according to a network executive. (But in a recent New York Times story, Bettag said he was in talks with ABC News, though he said that he had no desire to push current This Week executive producer Ian Cameron out of his job.)
An executive stressed the network's commitment to Cameron, saying he "is and will be the executive producer of This Week."
In 2005, when Koppel was leaving Nightline he was offered the chair at This Week. But he demurred saying he did not want to jump into the Sunday show fray that was then dominated by Tim Russert at Meet the Press.
He and Bettag signed a three-year deal to do documentary projects at Discovery. That deal ended in 2008, six months early. Koppel is currently a contributor at BBC America and NPR.
Koppel did not immediately return an e-mail for comment.
StewartIII - 1/21/2010 12:09:35 AM EST
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