Discovery, Ted Koppel Part Ways

With six months to go before his contract with Discovery Communications is set to expire, former Nightline host Ted Koppel has agreed to a buyout.
Discovery and Koppel’s production company on Tuesday (Nov. 25) announced the dissolution of the three-year relationship, which hit a wall when Discovery could no longer justify the expense of an independently functioning news unit.
In a statement, Discovery brass characterized the decision as “amicable” and “mutual.” The move to cut Koppel loose comes as Discovery Channel “continues its focus on long-running series and specials in the…core nonfiction genres and emphasizes non-news content that has a longer shelf life and appeals to audiences around the world.”
To date, the Koppel Group has produced 15 hours of original programming for Discovery Channel, including a four-part series on China that ran concurrently with the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Koppel joined Discovery in January, 2006, some two months after he anchored his final Nightline broadcast. A vestige of the era in which Billy Campbell served as president of the network, Koppel’s Discovery contract originally was to have expired in May 2009.
“There has been significant change in senior management at Discovery,” Koppel said. “Producing our kind of news-related programs is an expensive proposition. It has long been clear that neither of us is interested in an extension of the current contract.”
Koppel went on to say that the terms of seperation were “acceptable” to both sides.