Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Koppel Says Good Night

Did you ever think a TV Head would be capable of a moment of graciousness and genuine humility on this scale? Here's Ted Koppel signing off last night on his final Nightline broadcast:
There's this quiz I give to some of our young interns when they first arrive at Nightline. I didn't do it with this last batch. It's a little too close to home. "How many of you," I'll ask, "Can tell me anything about Eric Severeid?" Blank stares. "How about Howard K. Smith or Frank Reynolds?" Not a twitch of recognition.

Chet Huntley, Jack Chancellor? Still nothing. David Brinkley sometimes causes a hand or two to be raised; and Walter Cronkite may be glad to learn that a lot of young people still have a vague recollection that he once worked in television news.

What none of these young men and women in their late teens and early twenties appreciates, until I point it out to them, is that they have just heard the names of seven anchormen or commentators who were once so famous that everybody in the country knew their names. Everybody.

Trust me. The transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal.

Cronkite begat Rather, Chancellor begat Brokaw, Reynolds begat Jennings; and each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right.

You've always been very nice to me. Give this new Nightline anchor team a fair break. If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry.

That's our report for tonight...I'm Ted Koppel in Washington...

For all of us here at ABC News... Good night.

Pure class. Good for him.


Anonymous said...

No one remembers them because they're newsreaders...they add no intrinsic value to the process and pros like Brinkley or Sevareid would probably agree with that. (save Brinkley's excellent Sunday AM style) The less remembered about the anchor meams that the news was delivered in the proper fashion, I would guess.

But with the last generation, in the face of declining ratings we saw weird-ass "courage" signoffs, greatest generation books (was freeing a race of men less great than WWII, Tom?) and, God bless him and RIP, a nightly dose of massive, grating liberal sanctimony.

But Koppel's basically right...for all the attempts to keep the news "relevant" (or some other bullshit) Brokaw's basically already faded away and Rather sounds like he's a mixture of Capt. Queeg and Capt Ahab, still hunting the fake but accurate whale.

Jason O.

Anonymous said...

I remember eric severeid not for his anchoring but for his book "Canoeing with the Cree." His book about canoeing the Red River of the North to Hudson Bay as a 17 year old. It helps to be a native of Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

You're right to post this since what makes it noteworthy is that this type of self-deprecation is so very rare from these types - Koppel included.
As far as your saying "Pure Class" - I would agree that it is an apt description of the sign off, but I am not so sure if it is an apt description of Koppel in general. I get the sense that he is one helluva pompous ass.

Anonymous said...

He was just another newsreader; and a pompous one at that. His coverage of racial issues was classic left-wing pap. Who can forget him strolling hand in hand with the thugs from E.LA after the riots.

spandpiper said...

Is he afraid of going the way of DAN RATHER and TOM BROKAW? or is he ging the way of PETER JENNINGS?