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April 1, 2005    

Koppel leaves ABC: end of an era of US TV News

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by Brian Turner

Ted Koppel is leaving ABC News and Nightline at the end of the year.

This decision, following closely on the retirements of Dan Rather, longtime anchor at CBS News and of Tom Brokaw at NBC have raised speculation that traditional television news broadcasts may soon be a thing of the past.

ABC claims that it will continue Nightline in some form in it’s traditional time slot after Koppel’s departure, but a history of falling ratings and advertisers’ preference for younger audiences might well weaken the determination of network executives to preserve the broadcast.

Three years ago, Nightline’s ratings began to fall and there was talk of replacing it with David Letterman’s show as Letterman was then nearing the end of his contract with CBS. Nightline survived at that time chiefly because of network sensitivity to critics’ complaints that they were more interested in profits than in the public interest.

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