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Posted by on Apr 1, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

A Job Opening At ABC News

Attention Dan Rather: There may be a new job opening for you!

Ted Koppel said yesterday he is leaving ABC News, ending a 42-year career and a quarter-century run as anchor of “Nightline,” because he does not want to do it in the live hour-long format the network is planning.

“I really don’t think there’s anything else at ABC I would find as interesting or as challenging,” Koppel said in an interview, adding: “Of course it’s difficult. . . . It will be very hard to leave friends and colleagues behind. But in the words of an old song, you’ve gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.”

Koppel has consistently been a class act — and gave another indication of the fact that he’s not going to grasp at just anything to stay on the air when he nixed a new job offer from ABC:

The 65-year-old Koppel was offered the opportunity to become host of ABC’s “This Week,” the Sunday morning program that has struggled in the ratings under George Stephanopoulos, but was not enthusiastic about joining the crowded Sunday field and turned it down. Koppel is expected to stay on the air until his contract expires Dec. 4.

ABC News President David Westin said his “first choice” was for Koppel to remain at “Nightline.” “Ted ultimately concluded it was time for him to leave,” Westin said. “I respect him for that decision, and I admire him for being willing to leave.”

Asked about Westin’s plans for the award-winning program, which over the years has evolved from always live to generally taped, Koppel said: “David offered me the opportunity to continue on ‘Nightline,’ but it would have to have been on the basis of a one-hour program, doing it live five days a week. I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I’m now at a stage of life where it’s not something I feel I can do anymore.”

Etc. etc. ABC can now quibble over details…but the bottom line is that network news now loses someone who carved out a niche for himself as someone who was almost of the same stature as CBS’s former news anchor Walter Cronkite. Koppel was almost universally praised (except for some on the far right — and we are not talking about the right but the far right). And he was the kind of journalist journalism teachers everywhere could point to as a good role model for their young students.

He’ll be missed. Even though he DOES look like Howdy Doody:

Guess who THIS IS on the left…

And guess who THIS IS…on the right…

Separated at birth?