Stephen Battaglio


Aaron Brown Takes a Wide Angle on TV News

Aaron Brown by Bettina Hansen/ASU

Former CNN anchor Aaron Brown has always tried to stay on the high road during his career. That wasn't so easy as cable news went on a tabloid spree (before its recent addiction to presidential politics). Starting this week, Brown is back on the air as anchor of the PBS' Wide Angle. The summer documentary series digs deep into international stories in a way you won't see on commercial news outlets (check out the lineup here). In the fall, Brown returns to his other new job as a journalism professor at Arizona State University. He recently brought the Biz up to speed on his post-CNN life. read more

Did NBC News Go Overboard with Russert?

Tim Russert by Giovanni Rufino/MSNBC

It didn't take long for media critics and bloggers to start whining over how much time NBC News and its cable network are devoting to the death of Tim Russert. read more

Who Will Be Russert's Successor?

Tom Brokaw by Ali Goldstein/NBC

Executives at NBC News are still reeling over the death of friend and colleague Tim Russert. But soon they will have to come up with a plan about how to proceed with their coverage of the 2008 Presidential campaign, which includes picking Russert's successor at Meet the Press. While we believe there are only two real candidates for the job, here's what we think about all the names that have been thrown out there.
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Making Foreign Affairs Hip: The Fareed Zakaria Q&A

Fareed Zakaria by Justin Larose/CNN

Watch any TV news roundtable with Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria and you can be sure the discussion will have some nutritious calories. Now Zakaria has got his own roundtable. Starting June 1 at 1 p.m. ET on CNN, he'll host Fareed Zakaria - GPS, a weekly hour devoted to international affairs (the initials stand for global public square). Each Sunday, the show will include a 25-minute interview with an important world player (former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the first guest). Zakaria recently shared his global wisdom with The Biz.
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Upfront Day 4: A Spot-On Move By Fox

Anna Torv, Mark Valley and Joshua Jackson in Fringe by Michael Lavine/Fox

We've been hearing a lot of industry whining lately about how technology is ravaging the traditional TV business model. Starting next season, Fox will actually try to do something about it.
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Upfront Day 3: CBS Enters Laughing

Worst Week by Chris Haston/NBC Universal/CBS

Comedy is hard for network TV these days. But CBS thinks it's worth it. The network's big move for the 2008-09 season is to start a new sitcom block on Wednesday night. Encouraged by the strong post-strike ratings performance of its Monday line-up, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler wants to see if The New Adventures of Old Christine can stand on its own at 8 pm on the night. The payoff could be big. Advertisers like sitcoms. They skew younger than most dramas. Their content is less problematic. Unlike serialized dramas, they can be repeated. And there are not a whole lot of them on in network prime time anymore.
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Network Upfronts Day 2: Surviving With the CW

Surviving the Filthy Rich by Joseph Viles/The CW

In one of those last-minute instances that occur in a network scheduling session, someone at the CW decided to change the title from one of its new series from How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls to Surviving the Filthy Rich.
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Fox News' Hemmer Touts the "Bill Board"

Bill Hemmer courtesy Fox News Channel

In 2005, Bill Hemmer became one of the biggest on-air names from CNN to jump to Fox News Channel. He's traveled the world as a correspondent for FNC, but it's taken the 2008 Presidential campaign for him to emerge as a leading anchor for the channel. Paired with up-and-comer Megyn Kelly, Hemmer is now on three hours a day with America's Newsroom and a daily 5 pm show dedicated to political news, America's Election HQ. He's also become a fixture during FNC's primary coverage providing analysis through a multi-touch sensing screen nicknamed "The Bill Board" (not to be confused with CNN's "Magic Wall," although it's the same technology). The Biz caught up with Hemmer after another night of electoral number-crunching.
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Idol Still a Force, Even as Ratings Decline

Syesha Mercado by Frank Micelotta/FOX

The big TV story of the moment is the ratings decline of American Idol.
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The Latest Gossip from CW Boss Dawn Ostroff

Leighton Meester by Giovanni Rufino/The CW, Dawn Ostroff by Jesse Grant/WireImage.com

This week will be a big one in the short life of the CW. Gossip Girl returns with the first of five new episodes and the backing of its provocative promo campaign built around the show's "OMFG" moments. The campaign is getting the freshman series some attention. But will it get the ratings that the CW SRSLY needs? The Biz talked with network president Dawn Ostroff about how she's banking on GG to turn the network's fortunes around.
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