Nightline's Moran To Anchor From New York

Move Is Effort To Cut Redundant Staffing, Says Source

Nightline anchor Terry Moran will be a much more frequent visitor to New York, an ABC News insider confirms. Nightline Executive Producer James Goldston came down to the ABC News D.C. bureau two weeks ago to talk  to Nightline staffers in Washington, according to sources familiar with the conversation. His message: Starting Monday (Nov. 12), more of the anchoring of the show by Washington anchor Terry Moran will actually be from New York. 

“They want a New York feel, so New York is where the anchor is,” said a longtime news staffer. An ABC Network News source familiar with the conversation confirmed that Moran, who shares anchoring duties with Martin Bashir and Cynthia McFadden, would do more anchoring from the Big Apple. But she said the issue was to reduce staffing redundancy, though D.C. remains a 24/7 news bureau, the source said. 

“The idea is to increase efficiency in both New York and Washington,” cutting down on staff demand, she said.

“So, in an effort to mitigate that, Terry will anchor more often from New York.” 

A lighting staffer and camera operator who had been manning a small, third-floor studio being used by Nightline will not will be losing their jobs, said the source, but will be reassigned. 

Moran will continue to report from D.C., and anchor when necessary from the Hay-Adams Hotel, where ABC has a fixed, remotely controlled unmanned camera for standups, with the White House for a backdrop. The same location where Charlie Gibson anchors World News when he is in town. 

With ABC’s Washington-based public affairs show, This Week, moving to new digs at the Newseum starting early next year, ABC will soon have two D.C. studios with space available. The other is a large basement studio, the home to the formerly Washington-based, Ted Koppel-hosted Nightline and current home to This Week. The This Week crew is expected to make the move to the Newseum studio for the Sunday morning broadcasts. 

A decade or so ago, said a longtime staffer, ABC rented out some of its D.C. bureau studio space to third parties until New York put th kibosh on that, saying it needed to be ready at a moment’s notice to report news out of those studios. Some staffers are wondering whether the network will try to rent the space out again. Those conversationsd have not come up, said the ABC insider, but they could. 

The ABC D.C. bureau has been through various changes and staffing cutbacks as the result of the post-Koppel reformatting of the show to a three-anchor broadcast that divides production time between D.C. and New York, where Goldston is based. 

The reformat has paid off in the ratings, with Nightline holding onto its audience and closing the gap between CBS' Late Show With David Letterman and NBC's Tonight Show With Jay Leno. The changes have taken a toll on longtime D.C. staffers already on edge from an ongoing contract dispute.