Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Katie at Colonus

You begin to feel sorry for the news folks at NBC when you read about their misfortunes in Monday’s Times piece, “For Couric, ABC’s PitchProved Best” (NYT, 6/6/11). According to the Times, NBC head honcho Steve Burke and news president Steve Capus were meeting Couric and her agent Alan Berger “to bring their one-time news star…back into the network fold.” It should have been perfect timing: Couric was four months away from the end of her unhappy CBS contract and looking to reinvent herself with an afternoon syndicated program “while also maintaining a continuing role in a network news division….” But in the end, the negotiations unfolded like a Greek tragedy, with the protagonists blinded not by fate, but by the tens of millions at stake in annual syndication sales. Apparently, the two NBC execs were pretty flummoxed even before Couric arrived for the meeting at the St. Regis Hotel. Why? They’d run into Al Gore, who’d shown up “to announce the hiring of Keith Olbermann for his cable channel, Current TV.” Olbermann, famous and infamous at MSNBC, had had his own bitter-sweet parting with NBC. The Current TV team chatting up a former NBC castoff in the very next room created a vibe that an NBC executive quoted by the Times described as “awkward.” Neither a PowerPoint presentation nor a welcome-home-Katie video seduced Couric, and she ended up signing with ABC, “…which was not even a serious contender….” Yes, there had been rumors that Jeff Zucker, the former NBC exec and rival of Burke who was part of Couric’s team, was the fly in ointment, but reading the Times story, one starts to mourn dear old NBC, once the home of the venerable Cosby Show, and once the Harvard to CBS’s Yale when it came to the now oxymoronic concept of high-quality network news.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.