Wednesday, June 10, 2015

1497 Foster Child NBC Still Riles Comcast

1497 NBC: Foster Child NBC Still Riles Comcast

The crystal ball is cloudy.  Well, partly cloudy.  Hence you won’t find a firm prediction here about whether Brian Williams will return to the NBC anchor chair when his suspension ends in early August. But there are signs.

NBC became a serial foster child starting in the mid 1980s.  And from a corporate point of view, it’s a trouble kid. One who won’t listen.  One that breaks curfew, cuts class and has a dog that eats its homework.

The NBC culture hasn’t changed much over the decades and therein is a signal.  It pays off the contracts of people it wants to get rid of.

Example, and probably the biggest one: Milton Berle remained on the payroll for 28 years after his show was cancelled.  He wasn’t allowed to work elsewhere without permission, rarely asked, rarely given.

Example and probably the second biggest one: David Brinkley walked uptown to ABC when NBC failed to renew his contract. That helped put the then-struggling third network on the Sunday talk show map.

Ann Curry: when they yanked her off the Today Show, they gave her a sweetheart deal which allowed her to do what she wanted. She didn’t want to do much and didn’t.  And more recently they “helped” her establish her own company which also hasn’t done anything.

Scott Simon: The first anchor of Saturday Today was given an office and nothing to do but still got paid after they replaced him on camera.

So it’s pretty easy to divine that Williams will either walk away with what’s left on his 50- million dollar contract or run out the clock by becoming a “correspondent at large” or host of a daytime game show or “The Real Housewives of Paramus.”

If Lester Holt is named “permanent” anchor of NBC Nightly News, the peasants will celebrate.  If he isn’t, the peasants will riot.

Holt has a lot going for him.  Calm, apparently easy going, earnest, serious, friendly, well-liked, doing as good a job and easy to work with.

That last one is his achilles heel.  

Nighttime anchors traditionally rule by fear.  No one is afraid of Lester.  In fact, they like him.  They want to watch him.  They want to work with/for him. They want him to succeed. And they should.

The last NBC anchor with a nice guy reputation was John Chancellor.  And look what happened to him: Walter Cronkite.


--The writer of the New York Post headline that made headlines, “Headless Body in Topless Bar” has died. Vincent Musetto was 74. He was retired but still contributing reviews for the Post.

--There are two competing tabloidy New York headlines- of- the- century.  The other one is “Ford to New York: Drop Dead.”  That was in the Daily News which still reports actual events, unlike its main competitor.

--You say you never heard of any production or person nominated or winning any of this year’s Tony Awards?  Congratulations.  Wear that unawareness as a badge of honor.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2015

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