January 12, 2006

Ted Koppel to contribute to NPR, New York Times

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One week after signing up to make
news documentaries for the Discovery Channel, former
"Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel has struck additional deals to
contribute commentaries to National Public Radio and The New
York Times.

Koppel, who ended a 42-year ABC News career with his final
"Nightline" television broadcast in November, will join NPR as
a senior news analyst in June under an agreement to appear on
the public radio network's national programs about 50 times a
year, NPR said on Thursday.

He will contribute analysis and commentary for such NPR
programs as "Morning Edition," which ranks as the nation's No.
1 morning radio show, as well as "All Things Considered" and
the midday news magazine "Day to Day."

He also will serve as an NPR analyst for breaking news
reports and coverage of special events, and his work will
appear on NPR's Web site and in programming made available by
the network for digital downloads.

"I have been an unabashed fan of NPR for many years and
have stolen untold excellent ideas from its programming,"
Koppel said in a statement. "It's time to give something back."

The New York Times announced separately that Koppel, 65,
would join the newspaper as a contributing columnist starting
on January 29, providing opinion pieces to its Op-Ed page on a
periodic basis.

Koppel's two newest ventures come a week after he reached a
multiyear deal with Discovery to produce and host long-form
programming, including documentaries and town hall-style
broadcasts, for the cable channel starting in the fall.

He will be joined at Discovery by his longtime "Nightline"
executive producer and friend Tom Bettag and eight other former
"Nightline" staff.

Koppel, who built "Nightline" into a late-night TV news
institution 25 years ago in the midst of the U.S.-Iranian
hostage crisis, anchored his last segment of the program on
November 22.

He and his single-subject format were replaced the
following week with a trio of anchors -- Terry Moran, Cynthia
McFadden and Martin Bashir -- covering several topics each
night. The new format has drawn mixed reviews from critics.

Koppel began his broadcasting career at WMCA Radio in New
York before moving in 1963 to ABC Radio News, where one of his
early assignments was covering the immediate aftermath of the
assassination of President John Kennedy from Washington.

NPR produces nearly 150 hours of programming carried by 815
public radio stations nationwide, drawing a weekly audience of
almost 26 million listeners.

The New York Times boasts a daily readership for its
printed editions of about 5 million people.