Ben Sherwood gives a detailed interview on the state of ABC News to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie. The network president gives his thoughts on “GMA'”s competition with NBC’s “Today,” the joint venture between ABC and Univision, and Martha Raddatz’s performance as the Vice Presidential debate moderator. He also addresses some recent controversial issues for the network:
THR: GMA has been accused of exploiting co-host Robin Roberts’ illness and treatment. What’s your reaction to that?
Sherwood: We are doing exactly what Robin has wanted every step of the way. Every frame of video you see, every mention is our attempt to fulfill Robin’s wishes. Chronicling her journey is a very important part, in her view, of her healing process. She believes in the power of prayer, and I think she feels the outpouring of love, attention and concern has been crucial. No one would be more surprised by that criticism than Robin Roberts herself, who feels this is a very authentic part of who she is and taking what’s happening to her to the people who care about her.
THR: ABC News weathered a series of mistakes about the Aurora, Colo., shooting and more recently was forced to backtrack on a report that Tony Scott had brain cancer. What have you learned from those?
Sherwood: We made some mistakes, we corrected them immediately, we studied them closely and learned from them, and we are committed, as always, to getting it right. When you open up the pages of a major newspaper or a magazine, you inevitably see the correction box where every day, every week, every month, journalists doing their best, manage to make mistakes.
THR: How instrumental were you in bringing Katie Couric to ABC?
Sherwood: I was part of the team. I used to work with her at NBC. I’ve loved watching Katie on TV. She is obviously an incredibly talented journalist. I’m rooting for the daytime program. I also love it when she does Good Morning America or one of our specials, and we’ve got lots of work lined up for her in the months and years ahead.