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Fates & Fortunes Weekly Round-Up: Nov. 23, 2009

November has been full of news that will see media changed as we know it.

Three big retirements were announced: Oprah Winfrey will end her syndicated show on Sept. 9, 2011; PBS’ Bill Moyers will end Bill Moyers Journal on April 30, 2010; and CNN’s Lou Dobbs abruptly quit on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Obviously, the end of Oprah is the most major of those announcements: the show’s departure will completely change the landscape of daytime.

And we’re still waiting for word of a deal that most see as inevitable: Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal, which the LA Times reported late last Friday is delayed due to squabbles over the company’s valuation.

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to taking a little time off over Thanksgiving to spend some time with our families and hope you will be doing the same.

As always, you can follow Fates on Twitter @BCFates or me personally @PaigeA if you are willing to put up with tweets about turkey and pie. Forward fates to me at or at

In the News

Lou Dobbs (pictured left), formerly of CNN, told Reuters last Thursday (Nov. 19) that he is considering running for the White House or the U.S. Senate. Dobbs’ program had grown increasingly opinionated, and CNN ultimately decided the format wasn’t for them, Dobbs acknowledged. As for his next move, he told Reuters: “I am ruling nothing out. … I have come to no conclusions and no decisions,” he said. “Do I seek to have some influence on public policy? Absolutely. Do I seek to represent and champion the middle class in this country and those who aspire to it? Absolutely. And I will.”

On the other side of the spectrum,Bill Moyers, 75, will retire from weekly television and end his measured and intellectual Friday night public affairs show, Bill Moyers Journal, on April 30, 2010. That date will also be the last for Now on PBS, which has been canceled. Moyers had been planning to end the program on Christmas Day, but PBS asked him to continue until April for fund-raising purposes.

Big Kahunas

I don’t know if people got sick of flying to Washington to deal with the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act or what, but both major satellite TV companies saw changes at the top over the past week.

Michael White, CEO of PepsiCo International and vice chairman of PepsiCo, will be DirecTV’s new CEO, reported Variety. White replaces Chase Carey, who departed DirecTV’s top job in June to return to News Corp. as vice chairman/COO. White will join DirecTV in January. DirecTV is in the process of splitting off from its parent company Liberty Media into a stand-alone publicly traded entity. Reuters speculated during the week that Liberty made the change in order to prep the company to be sold … again. (Remember when Rupert owned it and then Charlie Ergen tried to own it? Those were the days.)

Speaking of Charlie, Longtime EchoStar executive Michael Dugan will replace Charlie Ergen as president and CEO of EchoStar. Ergen will remain chairman. Dugan is a member of the board and is a former president of the company before it was divided up in 2008. He has been an executive in various capacities from 1990 to 2004.

Beyond the satellite TV companies, Garth Ancier (pictured right) quit again. This time he’ll step down as president of BBC Worldwide America next March and become non-executive director at the company. Ancier joined the company in 2007. Ancier has quit more great jobs than most people will be within a stone’s throw of, having served as NBC’s president of entertainment and co-chairman of The WB (until it became The CW in January 2007). Who knows where Garth will end up but NBC might be looking for some talented executives …

Programming Prospects

Hamish Hamilton will direct the 82nd Academy Awards telecast, according to the LA Times. Hamilton is a veteran of live event programming, having overseen the MTV Video Music Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2009 (and did you see that Lady Gaga performance?), as well as multiple editions of the MTV Europe Music Awards and Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. He also has directed specials for U2, Christina Aguilera and, most recently, Neil Diamond’s “Hot August Night/NYC” this year. This year’s Academy Awards will be held on March 7 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater.

Meredith Wagner, longtime communications and public-affairs chief at Lifetime Networks, is departing after the group was acquired by A&E Television Networks, reports Multichannel News. Veteran TV journos know Wagner well, since she’s been with Lifetime for 22 years. This last year, she even uprooted herself to move to Los Angeles after the company consolidated operations on the West Coast.

Journalism Jumps

Hari Sreenivasan (pictured left) is leaving CBS News to become a news anchor and reporter at PBS’s The NewsHour, reports TVNewser. The NewsHour is gearing up for a relaunch on Dec. 7, changing its name from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to the PBS NewsHour and merging its broadcast and digital platforms. Sreenivasan will anchor both the nightly television broadcast and daily online news summaries. According to a PBS press release: “The program will have a two-anchor format, featuring Jim Lehrer accompanied by a rotation of NewsHour senior correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown.

TV producer Michele Remillard has been named executive producer of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal daily interview program. Remillard is a former producer at Fox News, where she produced Special Report with Bret Baier and launched Beltway Boys, and before that was with CNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. She also produced The McLaughlin Group.

WABC New York’s Tappy Phillips, who spearheaded tough consumer reports with her “7 on Your Side” feature, is retiring after 25 years at the station, reports the New York Daily News.

Weeknight anchor Mary Beth Marsden is taking a union buyout and leaving Scripps-owned ABC affiliate WMAR Baltimore on Dec. 2, reports The Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik.

Dave Roberts, veteran weather anchor at ABC’s WPVI Philadelphia is retiring, reports Roberts, 73, has been at the station since 1978, joining as co-host of AM Philadelphia and afternoon weather anchor. Roberts, whose real name is David Thomas Boreanaz, is the father of actor David Boreanaz, star of Fox’s Bones, The WB’s Angel and The WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day.

Jeff Vaughn will succeed Chris Marrou as the weeknight anchor at Belo’s CBS affiliate KENS San Antonio, Texas. Vaughn was most recently morning anchor at KSHB Kansas City. Marrou, is retiring from the station after 36 years on the air.

Reporter and weekend anchor Gloria Margarita, 28, is leaving Journal’s NBC affiliate KMIR Palm Springs to serve as the executive director of the Reynaldo J. Carreon M.D. Foundation, an organization that has given more than $1 million in scholarships to local minority college-bound students since 1992. Margarita herself is a recipient of a Carreon scholarship.

Stacy Loe, anchor at Raycom’s KGMB Honolulu, is stepping down after 19 years at the station, reports the Honolulu Advertiser. Loe is departing one month after KGMB entered into a shared news services agreement with Raycom owned KNHL and HITV-McG Capital’s KFVE.

D.C. Denizens

Former CNN head and Time Magazine Editor Walter Isaacson has been named chair of the administration’s Broadcasting Board of Governors. The White House also named Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, Message Global President Susan McCue and Blue Line Strategic Communications President Michael P. Meehan to the board.


Bruce Paisner has been reelected president and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for another two-year term, according to a press release. Paisner has run the organization since January 2004.


British TV journalist David Frost, 70, will be honored at the 37th Annual International Emmy Awards at the Hilton New York on Monday, Nov. 23, reports the AP. The award will be presented by ABC’s Barbara Walters. Overall, 41 nominees from 17 countries will be competing for awards in 10 categories.

In Memoriam

Ray Gomez, news director at Sagamore’s KGNS Laredo, passed away last week at 45. He is survived by his wife Diana Fuentes, editor of the Laredo Morning Times.

Art Lake, who served as anchorman and weatherman for Media General’s NBC affiliate WJAR Providence for 60 years, passed away last week at 85, reports The Providence Journal’s Web site, Lake is survived by his wife, Ali, whom he met on a blind date in 1948, and their three adult sons.