Alphabet preps for post-Koppel era
NEW YORK — The future of “Nightline” is airing on Monday nights.
ABC News is experimenting with new formats and personalities on Mondays throughout the summer as the network prepares for a “Nightline” without Ted Koppel, who will retire in December.
Over the summer the net will also air experimental versions of “Nightline” on Friday nights as it looks for the right combination for the post-Koppel era.
The series of experiments began Friday with a Father’s Day-themed program hosted by Bob Woodruff.
On Monday the net tried a multitopic “Nightline” hosted by Dan Harris with segments on the John Bolton nomination and a Jake Tapper interview on race relations with L.A. Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa and the director and star of the movie “Crash,” Paul Haggis and Don Cheadle.
Episode included an essay by comedian Jake Johannsen on the partisanship surrounding the Bolton nomination.
New iterations of the show will include multitopic episodes with multiple-anchor formats, live reports and more pop-culture and arts coverage.
Heading up the “Nightline” experiment is senior producer Sara Just. Tom Bettag will continue producing “Nightline,” but the demands of helming the show as well as conducting experiments in its future was “simply too big a job” for Bettag to handle alone, spokeswoman Emily Lenzner said.
Bettag will leave the show with Koppel in December as both seek other journalistic opportunities.
As part of the overhaul, the “Nightline” intro will be freshened and lighting and sets will noticeably change to accommodate multiple anchors and changes in format. The “Nightline” name and logo will remain the same.
“The DNA of ‘Nightline’ is going to continue on,” Lenzner said.
The network is relying on Washington-based producers and talent to remake the show. ABC News prexy David Westin assured staff the show will stay in D.C. even though a pilot for the show was shot in Times Square last spring.