Gun violence is an issue that has plagued the United States for years. ABC News hopes its efforts to track the problem across a recent week will shed new light on it. The Disney-backed news outlet is on Sunday launching One Nation Under Fire, a new project in conjunction with news staffers at ABC’s owned stations that hopes to explore the root causes of gun violence by tracking a week of shootings across the U.S. from July 17 to July 24.
ABC News is expanding its primetime 20/20 newsmagazine with a new series, Superstar, which will begin airing on ABC Aug. 11. Each episode of Superstar will profile a different celebrity “who shaped American culture,” according to the network. The first episode will profile Whitney Houston, and will include never-before-seen private videos of the singer, who died in 2012.
Donna Brazile, former interim head of the Democratic National Convention, has exited Fox News for a contributor role at ABC News, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap. Brazile served as interim DNC chairwoman in 2012 and from 2016 to 2017. She’s had a wide-ranging career in television throughout her time as a political operative.
ABC News’ 20/20, anchored by David Muir and Amy Robach, won the broadcast season for the first time in five years, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings data. In total viewership since the season began on Sept. 21, 2020, 20/20 had a 3% lead on Dateline, but the lead was greater in the advertiser-coveted age demographics. In the 18-49 demo, the 9 p.m. ET show was up by 25% while in the 25-54 range, its lead was 17%.
ABC News will expand its recent Soul of a Nation series with two primetime specials designed to commemorate the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death and Juneteenth.
Julie Townsend, head of communications for ABC News since the fall of 2014, will leave the Disney unit as it prepares to welcome a new president. Townsend, a VP who has supervised outreach on behalf of flagship news programs ranging from Good Morning America to World News Tonight, will leave May 14 “to lead global consumer communications at an iconic American company” that she said in a memo to staffers would be revealed at a later date.
The new president of ABC News won’t start until May, but she already has a critical assignment: The top producer of ABC’s Good Morning America is leaving the show. Michael Corn, an ABC News veteran who worked alongside Diane Sawyer at World News Tonight and who has managed GMA since 2014, has left the company abruptly.
She joins from CBS where she was second-in-command as executive vice president of news directing newsgathering across the global portfolio with full editorial oversight.
CBS News veteran Kim Godwin is expected to become the next president of ABC News, a move that would make her the first Black executive to lead a broadcast-network news division in the U.S. Godwin has had an offer from Disney’s ABC for several weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter, but only in the last few days did CBS CEO George Cheeks agree to let the executive out of her contract.
Disney’s search for a new leader for ABC News continues weeks after the company unexpectedly disclosed the former president, James Goldston, would leave the post. Goldston’s last day came at the end of March and the company has yet to home in on a candidate to replace him, according to four people familiar with parts of the search process. When ABC News heads like David Westin or Ben Sherwood left in years past, Disney identified a successor. That hasn’t been the case in the current matter.
David Muir will start to lead breaking-news duties at ABC News, a new effort by the Walt Disney unit to rework an unorthodox arrangement involving two of its top anchors. Under a new structure, Muir will largely handle the bulk of ABC News’ special reports and news of national importance, while George Stephanopoulos, the Good Morning America and This Week anchor may shepherd similar efforts in the morning, according to three people familiar with the matter.
ABC News chief national correspondent Matt Gutman has been suspended for violating a company policy on COVID-19 safety. A spokesperson for the network declined to comment, as did Gutman. A source familiar with the situation said that Gutman was suspended for violating company safety rules having to do with going into a hospital for a story without first getting permission from management. It was not immediately clear how long the suspension will last.
The network has committed to six episodes of Soul of a Nation that will air on consecutive Tuesday nights. No premiere date or time slot has been announced. Each episode will be centered on a theme, such as spirituality, activism in sports and the racial reckoning triggered by George Floyd’s death. Journalist Jemele Hill and actor Marsai Martin of Black-ish are among the guest hosts. Above from left, Carmelo Anthony, Nick Cannon and David Alan Grier are among those who will be featured.
Janice Johnston is only the fourth person to lead the show in its 40-plus years. She’s the first woman and the first Black producer to hold the job. Above, Johnston (l) with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
ABC News President James Goldston announced today that he would step down from his post on March 31. “It’s a really tough decision. I’ve loved every day of my 17 years at ABC News, but in recent times I’ve always assumed that after this extraordinary election cycle, which we’ve covered at a full sprint for four years, it would be time for a change.”
Tom Llamas, the weekend anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, has dramatically quit the network to move to rival NBC. Llamas, 41, is being lined up for a wide-ranging role across NBC News that involves work across the network’s news shows, streaming services and MSNBC.
ABC News named Cecilia Vega the Disney news unit’s chief White House correspondent.
ABC News is promoting 20/20 Senior Producer Janice Johnston to the role of executive producer. She will be just the fourth person to lead 20/20 as executive producer in nearly 43 years.
Here are the complete videos and story links for TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum, featuring a keynote interview with veteran news producer David Bohrman and news and technology leaders from ABC News, Hearst, Tegna, NBCU Owned Television Stations, CBS Owned Stations, ABC Owned Stations, Gray Television, Graham Media, Sinclair, E.W. Scripps, Meredith, BBC, AJ+ and more.
TV broadcasters are aiming to move live production workflows to the cloud, but executives from Sinclair, ABC News and Vizrt said at last week’s NewsTECHForum it will take faster tech development from vendors and possibly new financial thinking from customers.
COVID-19, a historic election and Black Lives Matter protests kept local and national TV newsrooms in a state of perpetual vigilance this year. News executives from ABC News, Tegna and Hearst at TVNewsCheck’s NewsTECHForum on Tuesday said the year’s challenges revealed some remarkable resiliencies in their newsrooms, but also made their journalists a bigger target.
ABC News is laying off staffers amid a broader reorganization at parent company Walt Disney, one that impacts a low single-digit percentage of the news division’s 1,400 staffers, according to a source familiar with the situation. In a memo to employees sent Thursday evening, ABC News President James Goldston said that the personnel reductions were “necessary” as the company adapts to changes in the business and its organizational structure. Those who have been let go will end their tenures at ABC News in early 2021.
Galen Gordon, VP for the National Football League Media Group, has joined ABC News as SVP for talent strategy and development, starting Nov. 30. He reports to ABC News President James Goldston.
Executives from ABC Owned Stations, Hearst, ABC News, Gray Television, NBCU Owned Stations and Bitcentral say seven months into the pandemic, remote workflows are running smoothly and more permanent changes to their operations are pulling into focus. Read the story and/or watch the full video above.
ABC News will elevate Derek Medina to executive vice president, giving him oversight of many of the Walt Disney unit’s business operations and freeing president James Goldston to devote some of his time to broader strategies.
Joe Biden participated in a 90-minute town hall from Philadelphia on ABC, while NBC News went ahead with its hourlong session with President Trump in Miami — despite protests from Hollywood stars and others who criticized the network for forcing viewers to choose because the two events were held at the same time.
The president and Joe Biden were supposed to meet Thursday for their second debate hosted by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. Following the president’s diagnosis, the commission switched it to a virtual meeting, but Trump declined to participate. Biden then agreed to appear on ABC. Critics of NBC questioned why the network scheduled Trump for the same time, making viewers have to choose if they were interested in seeing both candidates react live in a similar format.
ABC News staffers who were in direct contact with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will quarantine for 14 days, a spokesperson for the network said in a statement Saturday after Christie announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Christie, an ABC News political analyst, was on set for ABC News’ post-debate coverage Tuesday. Others on set included ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson, and Republican strategist Sara Fagan.
Technology executives from ABC News, NBCU Owned Stations, ABC Owned Television Stations and Hearst Television will explore how pandemic-necessitated at-home production has overhauled the industry’s thinking at TVNewsCheck’s virtual TV2025 event in October. Register here.