July 20, 2006

“Nightline” set to move New York studio

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - "Nightline" will move its
New York studio from Times Square to ABC News' headquarters
uptown off Lincoln Square sometime this summer.

The post-Ted Koppel "Nightline" debuted in December with
three co-anchors, Terry Moran in Washington, D.C., and Martin
Bashir and Cynthia McFadden in New York. Much of the
production, which had been based in Washington, D.C., moved to
New York and instead of a show taped on a single topic in the
late afternoon new executive producer James Goldston made the
show live and multi-topic.

Yet Goldston said Thursday that the Times Square studios
have turned out in the last eight months to be less of a factor
than had been originally believed.

"It's such a big studio space. It's designed for a big,
live show and what we have found is that the shows have gone
by, we've had less of those live elements," Goldston said of
the Times Square space that viewers know as the studios of
"Good Morning America" and "Weekend Good Morning America." "I
thought that we would have more of it but as shows evolve, the
show itself tells you."

So "Nightline" will go to ABC News' TV3 studio at its
headquarters, where "World News" and "ABC News Overnight" are
produced. Sets are being built for "Nightline," though the look
and feel of the show won't change.

"There are significant cost savings, and it allows us to
put more of our resources where we want them, on the reporting,
which is what the show is about," Goldston said. It also brings
the studio and control room into the same building as the
"Nightline" offices, which Goldston said will help

There's no timetable, but it will be done by the end of the
summer. While no ABC staffers will apparently lose their job,
some production people will be reassigned because TV3 already
has its own production staff.

No other changes will be made to the show, and Goldston
repeated ABC's commitment to a live "Nightline" and a
Washington component that averages out to about two nights per

While a number of critics complained that the changes to
"Nightline" would be disastrous to what is one of the last
bastions of serious news on the broadcast networks, it seems
viewers have taken to heart Koppel's closing admonition to give
the new crew a chance. Viewership has increased -- even as its
late-night competition has shown weakness -- particularly in
the second quarter. "Nightline" grew 4% in viewership to 3.4
million and 5% in the adults 25-54 demographic compared to the
same period a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Goldston said he was heartened by the response.

"The form had changed, but the content has been similar to
the old show," he said. "We've proved it again and again and

And in recent weeks, "Nightline" has proved it for sure
with correspondent John Donvan's reporting from the Middle East
and Moran's recent reporting from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"I think there's a market for it," Goldston said of the
serious reporting that "Nightline" has been known for. "There's
continuing fragmentation, but 'Nightline' has one of the great
television brands and that's incredibly useful and quite

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter