For Rent: ABC Studio

Cable show to leave net's D.C. news bureau

ABC News' already lonely Washington bureau will see a further reduction in production, this time due to the departure of an outside client it only recently snagged.

An ABC News spokeswoman confirmed that cable network Retirement Living TV is not renewing its contract to produce Daily Cafe out of the ABC bureau's studio.

Retirement Living was expected to resume production of Daily Cafe
next month using the studio, other facilities and some part-time staffers. The show had been on hiatus since May and had only been producing out of the ABC facilities for three months.

Retirement Living spokeswoman Kimberly Simmons said the show remains a going concern, but that it is being retooled and is scheduled to return in late October using other production facilities to be determined. She said that Retirement Living is building new facilities in Maryland.

Retirement Living struck the deal last February to rent production facilities, control room space and the green room at the ABC bureau to produce the hour-and-a-half, four-day-a-week show. It was a six-month lease, according to ABC, with the network providing office space and production services.

In-house production out of ABC's Washington bureau has decreased with the move of the Nightline production base to New York after Ted Koppel left in 2005; the ramping up of HD production, which will also be done out of New York; and the move of the production of Sunday show This Week with George Stephanopoulos to an HD studio at the Newseum across town.

There was a flurry of production activity out of the bureau last week, but that was because the control room for World News With Charles Gibson was temporarily moved to Washington while its New York home is being readied for the launch of news production in high-definition (see Technology, p. 20).

The arrival of a new set, and the bustle of activity surrounding Daily Cafe show production, had been a morale boost for news staffers concerned about dwindling production out of D.C. “From my point of view,” said one ABC staffer, the departure of Daily Cafe “is another shoe dropping in terms of us not having work at ABC News Washington.”

The ABC spokeswoman said that no full-time staffers are losing their jobs with the exit of the Retirement Living show, but concedes that some part-timers will. ABC is trying to find other work for them, she added.