(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – One of TV’s most influential news programs, “Nightline,” will lose an admired anchor, Ted Koppel, after 25 years of employment with ABC.
Koppel joined ABC News as a general assignment reporter in New York at age 23 in 1963. Koppel announced last Thursday that he’s leaving at the end of the year at the age of 65 but will not be retiring.
“Nightline” officially launched in March of 1980 on Day 142 of the Iranian hostage crisis, when the network set up a video confrontation between a startled Iranian official and the wife of one of the hostages.
The show was immediately set apart due to its revolutionary use of technology to conduct live interviews with subjects all around the world and show remote shots from faraway places such as Mount Everest.
Koppel said to MSNBC that he’s proud of the show’s efforts to investigate subjects that often didn’t get much attention on television, such as the criminal justice system. “Nightline” did some 40 shows on the AIDS crisis over the years, he said.
Recently, he sparked controversy on air after he spent the entire show reading the names of Americans who have died during the Iraq War.
Due to competition with popular entertainment shows, such as NBC’s Jay Leno show, “Nightline’s” viewership has dropped from an average of 6.3 million a decade ago to 3.8 million this season, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Koppel has also been reported to say that he thinks a younger reporter might help raise the shows ratings. He has not made any definite decisions about where he may decide to go after ABC.
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