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12/15/2002 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Wide World of Mourners

Hundreds of mourners packed St. Bartholomew's Church in New York last week to pay their last respects to Roone Arledge, chairman of ABC News and former president of ABC News and Sports, who died from complications due to cancer Dec. 5 at the age of 71.

Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings and Frank Gifford eulogized him, as did ABC News President David Westin and former ABC News and NBC News executive Dick Wald.

The church was packed with media heavyweights, including Jennings' competitors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, as well as Walter Cronkite, NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, former NBC and ABC executive Don Ohlmeyer, Disney bosses Michael Eisner and Robert Iger, News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Koppel (pictured above), like most of the others, joked about Arledge's reputation for often being unreachable and said that, at one point. he wrote a letter of resignation, which Arledge, characteristically, ignored. But they eventually had a long lunch. "After 31/2 hours, I was in love." Koppel recalled. "All in all, it was a stormy affair that lasted 25 years." He added that, when one was in Arledge's good graces, "it was a warm and sunny place to be."

Wald said that, recently, when he had talked to the increasingly ailing Arledge, he asked how his pain-management therapy was working. Arledge responded, "Oh, it's okay. It's like an affiliates meeting with Vicodin."

Hail to the Chief

A&E recruited the Commander in Chief, naming President George W. Bush
its 2002 Biography of the Year
subject. Bush's Biography
episode airs Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. ET. A&E Television Networks
GM/EVP Abbe Raven (c)
and Biography
host (and CBS Early Show
personality) Harry Smith
presented the president with his award at a Dec. 9 White House ceremony. A&E CEO/President Nick Davatzes
also was present.

Other contenders for this year's distinction included Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; the Osbourne clan; and Martha Stewart. This is the eighth time that A&E has picked a Biography of the Year.

NYWA Honors Olds

Stu Olds, CEO of Katz Media Group, was honored by the New York Women's Agenda
as one of New York's most outstanding employers, executives and advocates. Congratulating Olds at the group's annual Star Breakfast are Katz TV Group
executive and NYWA Immediate Past President Chickie Bucco (l) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-NY).

Feniger Retires

Jerry Feniger officially retired as president of the Station Representative Association at a New York party in his honor. Sharing the moment: his granddaughter, Leah. Feiniger's son, Bruce, follows in his father's footsteps: He's vice president and regional executive for Interrep Radio. The elder Feniger, 75, has been running SRA for 20 years and has watched consolidation shrink its membership to three companies. Will the trade association continue? "It hasn't been decided yet," said Feniger.

Herzog Goes to Motown

USA Network
warmed up early for Christmas with its Dec. 8 A Motown Christmas
music special. USA President Doug Herzog
favors a programming strategy with awards shows and music specials, like Motown, complementing his original series and made-for-TV movies.

Joining Herzog (l) at the Motown event, filmed at Los Angeles' restored Kodak Theater, were legendary recording artist Stevie Wonder (c) and Motown Records' Senior VP of Business Development Kojo Bentil.

Along with Wonder, big-name performers like The Temptations, Thelma Houston, Destiny's Child and India.Arie highlighted the special.

USA Network and Motown Records, part of Universal Music Group, are corporate cousins of Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

 

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