×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

From ‘Catch & Kill’ to Shepard Smith: The Biggest Media Moments of 2019

Variety looks back on some of the most memorable media events of 2019:

‘Catch & Kill’ Reopens Wounds at NBC News

Ronan Farrow’s book relitigates his complaints that NBC News tried to tamp down his investigation of harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NBC News denies the claim. The book contains new allegations against ex-“Today” anchor Matt Lauer, fired in 2017 for sexual misconduct.

TV News Gears Up for 2020 Race, Impeachment Inquiry 

Anchors away! The news industry, already upended by a 24/7 cycle dominated by White House antics, has had to stretch to cover a gaggle of Democratic presidential candidates and the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Programming disruptions have been the new normal.

Susan Zirinsky Shakes Up CBS News

The veteran producer was named the first female president of CBS News at a time of ratings declines and low workplace morale at the division. Within weeks of taking the job, she set new anchors at “CBS Evening News” and “CBS This Morning,” and named Bill Owens to the top role at “60 Minutes.”

Shepard Smith Leaves Fox News Channel

The longtime FNC anchor, noted for his just-the-facts reporting, raised eyebrows in October when, in the last minutes of his show, he told viewers he was exiting the network. The move prompted a round of hand-wringing over Fox Corp.’s commitment to straight news versus opinion programming.

Claims ABC News Ignored Report on Jeffrey Epstein

In August, NPR reported that ABC News’ Amy Robach and Jim Hill secured an interview with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleged the financier sexually trafficked her. In November, a conservative activist group released video of Robach commenting off-air on ABC News’ refusal to run the interview.

‘CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell’ Moves to D.C.

At a time of intense interest in a Trump-dominated news cycle, CBS News has said it intends to broadcast “Evening News” from Washington, D.C., beginning this month. When O’Donnell took the reins in July, she vowed to bring scrutiny to important issues. 

Comcast Unveils Plans for Global News Channel

After snapping up European satellite broadcaster Sky for $39 billion in 2018, Comcast teased plans throughout the year for the launch of a “global” news operation that would make use of Sky and NBC News assets and challenge CNN’s international dominance.

Town Hall Forums Take Over Cable News

CNN, FNC, NBC News and MSNBC have placed new emphasis on town-hall events, during which a mix of ordinary citizens, newsmakers and sundry experts hold forth on a topic of national import. On one town hall, Lester Holt moderated a discussion about criminal justice reform — from Sing Sing.

Megyn Kelly’s Next Step After Leaving NBC News

The anchor came to terms with NBC News in early 2019 on her exit with the network after morning show, “Megyn Kelly Today,” was canceled months earlier over on-air remarks that defended white people wearing blackface. Kelly looks to be pursuing an indie venture with Instagram and YouTube.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Tests Live Audience Format

Hayes hosts MSNBC’s 8 p.m. hour, “All In,” but on recent Fridays, he’s been doing it in front of a live audience, experimenting with a format that has intrigued news divisions eager to find new tweaks to keep viewers interested. 

More Biz

  • Why the Oscars, Emmys Shouldn't Try

    Grammy Awards Nominating Is Marred by Insider Deals, Ousted CEO’s Complaint Alleges

    Amid the multiple claims in former Recording Academy boss Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster complaint against the organization is a section that is deeply critical of the Grammy Awards nominating processes and essentially accuses it of insider dealing and corruption. Its allegations, if true, suggest worst-case scenarios, many involving the Board of Trustees that ultimately controls the [...]

  • The Irishman

    Netflix Adds 8.8 Million Subscribers in Q4, Cites Competition for Lower U.S. Gains

    Netflix beat its forecast for overall subscriber additions for the fourth quarter of 2019, while it brought in fewer than expected U.S. streaming customers. The company added a net 420,000 streaming customers in the U.S. and 8.33 million overseas in the year-end 2019 quarter, for a total of 8.76 million net adds. Netflix had previously [...]

  • Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Team for

    Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Leadership Team for Entertainment & Youth Division

    ViacomCBS’ senior leadership ranks are coming into sharper focus as Chris McCarthy, head of the sprawling Entertainment and Youth wing has solidified his senior leadership team. A number of executives closely associated with McCarthy are gaining additional responsibilities, including programming maven Nina Diaz, MTV chief marketing officer Jacqueline Parkes and PR chief Liza Burnett Fefferman. [...]

  • caa logo

    CAA Sets Eleven-Member Board to Manage Day-to-Day Operations

    Creative Artists Agency (CAA) announced Tuesday that the agency is establishing a board to manage its daily operations. The CAA Board will consist of eleven members: Risa Gertner, Michael Levine, Emma Banks, Joe Cohen, Maha Dakhil, Paul Danforth, Michelle Kydd Lee, Joel Lubin, Sonya Rosenfeld, Rick Roskin, and Tiffany Ward. Each board member will continue [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content