ABC News Chief Reportedly Expressed ‘Rage and Disappointment’ to Staff Over Brian Ross Screwup

This post is by Justin Baragona from Mediaite

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Following the bombshell news that ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his Russian contacts, ABC News’ Brian Ross delivered an explosive report that stated that Flynn would testify that then-candidate Donald Trump directed Flynn to contact Russian officials. Hours later, ABC News issued a clarification — later amended to a correction — to Ross’ report, pointing out that Trump didn’t make this request of Flynn until he was president-elect. With Ross now serving a four-week suspension over the erroneous report, and Trump tweeting that people should sue the network for financial losses due to the brief drop in the stock market in the wake of the story, the president of ABC News is apparently livid with his news staff over this mistake. According to CNN, ABC News President James Goldston tore into the staff earlier today during an editorial call. Pointing Continue reading "ABC News Chief Reportedly Expressed ‘Rage and Disappointment’ to Staff Over Brian Ross Screwup"

Did NBC Change ‘Nitely News’ Spelling in Effort to Goose Ratings? Sure Looks Like It

This post is by Colby Hall from Mediaite

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The fight between NBC’s Nightly News and recent challenger ABC’s World News Tonight has become so intense of late, that it appears that NBC went so far as to change the title of a recent episode only to improve their ratings and stay in first place. Is that move unfair? Savvy? Well, much like the terms “terrorist” or “freedom fighter,” it all depends upon one’s perspective. But first some background. TV news people are a funny breed that — impossibly — are both confident enough to judge and report domestic and global news on a daily basis, but are also insecure enough to constantly seek validation with ratings. It is a big business, with big egos, so no one should be surprised that the total number of viewers is by far the most critical measure for network news executives like Andy Lack and James Goldston. It seems that some will go to any length Continue reading "Did NBC Change ‘Nitely News’ Spelling in Effort to Goose Ratings? Sure Looks Like It"

James Goldston Announced as New President of ABC News

This post is by Evan McMurry from Mediaite

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James Goldston, the Senior Vice President of ABC News, has been promoted to president, according to a memo released Thursday by Ben Sherwood, newly promoted himself to president of Disney-ABC Television Group, following Anne Sweeney’s departure to pursue directing. As Jed Bartlet once said, “If everybody keeps moving up one, then I get to go home.”

Goldston came aboard ABC News in 2004 and quickly became Executive Producer of Nightline, in which post he spearheaded that program’s award-winning Afghanistan coverage. He manned the helm of Good Morning America for two years before being promoted to Senior VP.

“When I offered James the job, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to the people of ABC News, tremendous excitement about the future, and a commitment to nurturing the boldness, creativity, enterprise and fighting spirit that define our division,” Sherwood wrote. “In his view and mine, path-breaking journalism and innovative storytelling are the rocket fuel of ABC News.”

Read the full memo HERE, via ABC News.

[Disclosure: Mediaite's founder Dan Abrams is the chief legal analyst for ABC News and Good Morning America.]

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ABC News Still Searching For A David Westin Replacement

This post is by Steve Krakauer from Mediaite

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David Westin announced he was leaving his position as ABC News president two months ago, saying at the time that he’d stay “through the end of the year.”

There have been several reports about potential candidates, but while interviews have taken place internally and externally, the position remains unfilled and we hear there’s still no obvious front-runner.

Insiders tell Mediaite James Goldston, currently Executive Producer of Nightline, has been interviewed and could be considered the “in house favorite”. He was recently promoted to also oversee This Week. Other internal candidates interviewed have been Jon Banner, Executive Producer of World News, Jim Murphy, Executive Producer of GMA and Kate O’Brian, senior VP of news. Still, the fact that these interviews have taken place with no clear favorite shows Disney President Anne Sweeney may not believe the next ABC News President is part of the crop of internal candidates.

Mediaite hears Ben Sherwood has been considered as well, but the former ABCer is now making a name for himself in Hollywood. We’ve also heard Andy Lack was considered as part of a potential merger with Bloomberg, but that is off the table. There have also been at least two possible candidates considered known less for their news background than for their expertise in digital media, though that has the potential to alienate some within the TV division of ABC News.

Marisa Guthrie reports one name thrown around, Rebecca Campbell (President of ABC Owned Television Stations Group) has “been disavowed.” In September, Glynnis MacNicol wrote about other potential female candidates, like Alex Wallace, the number two at NBC News.

While there’s no front-runner, it’s also not crunch time yet, as Westin has agreed to stay through the end of December. This decision could highlight a divide within Disney and ABC News – money vs. journalism, although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two.

An ABC News spokesperson declined to comment.

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