Thursday, April 07, 2005

Maybe Losing "Nightline" Is Not Such A Disaster

Sen. Eugene McCarthy, whose presidential campaign I covered back in 1968, used to say that "reporters are like birds on a telephone pole. When one flies away, they all fly away; when one comes back, they all come back." Maybe, he got this quote from somewhere else.

But I was reminded of it when it seemed that everyone in the news media lamented the fortunes of Ted Koppel and his program "Nightline" last week on reports of his retirement and its possible demise.

The fact is that "Nightline" has been with us for 25 years, and its original purpose, the Iranian hostage taking coverage, has long been superseded.

Since "Nightline" came on the air, we've had 24-hour cable news, so much news that no one can follow it all, and the Internet. Right now, the fastest way to get the news is to look at the Internet.

It just might be it's time for ABC to look at other alternatives for the 11:30 p.m. time slot and that "Nightline's" time is past. I won't say the program has exactly grown stale, but it's not so great every night these days.

The fact is, if the news is big, as it has been this past week wiih Pope John Paul II's passing, then everyone throughout television steps up the coverage and there's more than enough. We may not miss "Nightline" that much.


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