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In the Loop

Who's the Boss?

When David Doss was shown the door, few ABC News insiders were surprised. Talented but mercurial, the Primetime
executive producer had resisted change at the ratings-challenged magazine show, which is expected to go to an ensemble format à la 60 Minutes
this fall (B&C, Feb. 23). And he has clashed with two of the show's star correspondents: Cynthia McFadden and Chris Cuomo (right). "He never really got along with McFadden," says an ABC insider. "And Cuomo thought Doss treated him like a pretty boy. He wouldn't let him do more serious stuff." Others at ABC say that, while Doss got along with Primetime
star Diane Sawyer, they never "bonded. So she wasn't going to save him" when the end came.

A successor to Doss has yet to be named. The network floated the job to Good Morning America
Executive Producer Shelley Ross, who just inked a new three-year pact. She told pals she's not interested. They also play down reports of tension between her and anchor Charlie Gibson, whose contract expires in June. "GMA
is gaining on Today,
and she doesn't want to leave before the show is No. 1," says an ABC veteran. "But if Diane Sawyer and David Westin say 'You got to do it,' she'd be hard-pressed to say no."

Rummy Business

TV journalists are joining with their print counterparts to demand the feds declassify its investigation into the friendly-fire deaths of seven journalists in Iraq. The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians/ Communications Workers of America sent out e-mails asking members to sign a petition that will be presented to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and congressional armed-services committees April 8.

That's the one-year anniversary of the bombing of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (below) that killed two journalists and wounded three. To date, all info on the tragedy has remained classified.

A Pentagon source says an executive summary of the Palestine Hotel investigation was made public, and a redacted version of its findings can also be obtained with a FOIA request. At least two of the other investigations, he says, are ongoing.

NAB to Media: Keep Out

We missed the announcement the first time around, but broadcasters and government will be meeting behind closed doors to talk about what "responsible programming" is and what to do about it. Under pressure from Washington and following a similar suggestion by Clear Channel, the NAB planned a summit March 31. Broadcasters are under pressure to self-regulate, including creating a family hour and a general code of programming conduct. NAB banned the media "in order to encourage open and candid dialogue."

We weren't the only ones surprised. One of the panelists, Gordon Peterson, the respected veteran anchor at WUSA Washington, pulled out when he was informed it was closed to the press. "I'm in the business of getting the word out," he said, "not covering the word up."