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This story first appeared in the May 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Who says TV news is dead? The industry has produced record ratings over the past year (all three evening newscasts adding viewers in 2014, Good Morning America‘s ascent to the top of the morning heap has netted more than $100 million in ad revenue), as well as the most seismic changes in years with rarely seen network shake-ups in late night, the morning and daytime.
After 30-plus years in television, David Letterman, late night’s last iconoclast, will retire next year. And, with Letterman’s blessing, Stephen Colbert will inherit the Late Show mantle, shedding his conservative blowhard persona. Ben Sherwood‘s stewardship of ABC News earned him Anne Sweeney‘s $12 billion portfolio, while Sherwood’s No. 2, James Goldston, a former BBC News producer and the first in his family to attend college (he went to Oxford), was named news division president April 10. Goldston is the second Brit to lead an American news division: Deborah Turness, who joined NBC News last summer from the U.K.’s ITV, is also the first woman to head a U.S. news organization.
Following multiple anchor exits (Sam Champion, Josh Elliott), GMA executives recruited Michael Strahan. And after a half-century in TV news, Barbara Walters on May 16 will make her final bow on The View, the daytime show she created that has spawned a stream of imitators.
There are new players in New York’s churning media culture, too: the digital visionaries (Vice’s Shane Smith, BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti and Ben Smith) and the sports execs who spend billions to bring us the most potent TV content in a time-shifted universe (ESPN’s John Skipper, NBC’s Mark Lazarus, CBS’ Sean McManus).
The Hollywood Reporter‘s fourth annual list of influencers honors the men and women who shape the media message and interpret the sweep of the culture (while showing no signs, it seems, of passing the baton).
Written by Seth Abramovitch, Paul Bond, Aaron Couch, Debbie Emery, Eriq Gardner, Marisa Guthrie, Shirley Halperin, Erik Hayden, Natalie Jarvey, Andy Lewis, Michael O’Connell, Lacey Rose and Rebecca Sun
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