Content

Koppel, Nine Others Join Discovery

1/04/2006 5:57 AM Eastern

Former Nightline anchor and managing editor Ted Koppel has joined the Discovery Communications Inc. camp.

Koppel -- a 42-year veteran of ABC News, best known for the network's late-night news-analysis show that ended its 25-year run in November -- will serve as managing editor at Discovery Channel, where he and nine other Nightline staffers, including executive producer Tom Bettag, are committed to producing at least six long-form shows per year examining major global topics and events.

Home Box Office had been negotiating with Koppel. Discovery Networks U.S. president Billy Campbell said Discovery began going after Koppel a little over one month ago, before finalizing a multiyear deal.

During a conference call announcing the acclaimed newsman's hiring, Campbell said Koppel and crew would work on projects that could be "reacted to overnight and turned around within several days to a week," as well as projects that would gestate over six months to one year.

"There will be one- or two-hour shows that could be followed by a town-hall meeting, if the topic merits," he added.

"We would look at events of giant proportions, like a 9/11 or a Katrina," Koppel said, noting that he and his crew could weigh in on other stories like the coal-mine situation in West Virginia within one week with a story on "mine safety."

Koppel said it was Discovery's "tremendous enthusiasm" for such stories, flexibility and the availability of time -- particularly during weeknight primetime -- that attracted him to the network.

He noted that if the broadcast networks and even the all-news cable channels were asked to commit to several hours in primetime to long-form and/or documentary programming exploring certain topics, "it just wouldn't happen."

Koppel said the first show would likely appear on Discovery in late summer or early fall.

November

Next TV

Affinia Manhattan, New York, NY