Twenty years ago, the hottest genre in network television wasn't sitcoms, dramas or reality shows — it was newsmagazines. CBS's 60 Minutes was the number-one show. ABC had Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs scoring big ratings on 20/20 and signed Diane Sawyer for Primetime. NBC had the most difficult time getting a newsmagazine off the ground until it launched Dateline NBC on March 31, 1992 after trying and failing with 17 other shows.
Over the next 20 years...
Catherine Zeta-Jones has been publicly commended for coming out with her bipolar disorder by the likes of Demi Lovato and Jane Pauley, but according to husband Michael Douglas, it wasn't her choice to discuss her diagnosis publicly.
"Catherine's being quite open about it because she was...
My favorite TV moment this week (granted, I've been on the road and haven't watched a lot) occurred early Wednesday morning, as Matt Lauer defused the mawkish sentiment on the Today set in the wake of Katie Couric's long-awaited announcement that she would be leaving soon for CBS.
"Also coming up in this half hour..." Lauer quipped, as the Today crew (a great group, as I can attest to from the experience of being on the show a handful of times) broke into laughter.
What I loved about that gag was how it underscored the fact that life on Today would go on, no doubt quite robustly, after the Katie Couric era ends. (There have been so many: the Bryant Gumbel-Jane Pauley era; the Barbara Walters-Hugh Downs era; and so on).
This is a historic shift, no question, and shouldn't be underestimated even as it's overanaly
There probably isn't anyone on Earth who has produced more hours of morning television than Steve Friedman. In two stints and 10 years of producing NBC's Today, he worked with Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley, Bryant Gumbel, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. He devised the show's street-level studio in Rockefeller Plaza, which has become a major Manhattan attraction. He led CBS' effort to become a serious player in morning TV when he launched The Early Show with Gumbel and Jane Clayson in 1999. The show has never challenged Today or ABC's Good Morning America in the ratings, but it has become a significant profit center for CBS News. Friedman followed pal Gumbel out of CBS in 2002, but the network's current news president Sean McManus has brought him back — as vice president in charge of morning broadcasts — in the hopes that Friedman can take The Early Show to the next level. The Biz talked with him about how
In May of 2003, Jane Pauley bid farewell to NBC after 27 years. The following month, she signed a deal with the Peacock network to host her own nationally syndicated daytime talk show. At the time, TV-industry wags wondered if Pauley exited Dateline in disgust at the TV newsmag's increasingly tabloidy flavor. Last year was all about Jacko, after all...
"Actually, no. The state of television at the time I left Dateline was kind of a coincidence," Pauley says diplomatically. "I would have left under any circumstances."
According to Pauley, she was a lady of a certain age, taking stock of her life. "It was like a perfect storm," she recalls. "You're looking at a woman who is now 53. At the time, I was a little younger, but not much. I had just put two children in college. I'd lost both my parents. So there are markers in a woman's life that say, 'You're in a new place.'"
So rather than re-up her contract at NBC News, she opted to do