Two Minds on Nightline’s Goldston

James Goldston‘s appointment as the new executive producer of “Nightline” has people going in two directions–while most seem to feel that the decision bodes well for hard news on the show, some are seeing his more racy reporting episodes perhaps as a move towards a much-feared future “Nightline” that is more entertainment-focused.

“Mr. Goldston is being asked to undertake one of the toughest assignments in television news: to widen the appeal of ‘Nightline’ at a time when Americans have never had more choices for how to get the news,” the New York Times reports.

B&C’s John Eggerton, for instance, reports Goldston’s “Jackson credit would seem to play to that change.” In that vein, the NY Observer even raises the possibility that the star of the Michael Jackson documentary, Brit journo Martin Bashir might end up at the revamped Nightline: “Goldston’s appointment also raises the possibility that Bashir, who works as a correspondent for ABC News, might join his old friend on Nightline. Producers have auditioned a rotating docket of talent on Koppel’s off-nights but have not settled on a new anchor or anchors, and Bashir could be a promising candidate.”

On the other hand, as hard news credentials go, Goldston’s couldn’t be much more secure: Among many other credits, he’s a former producer for the BBC’s “Newsnight,” an across-the-pond descendent of “Nightline.” Variety points out today that Goldston was behind Britain’s most watched documentary of the last decade.

The aspect we’re most troubled by? That Goldston appears to be staying in New York, despite the fact that most of the show’s staff and, historically at least, the talent is based in Washington.