CBS & ABC to Launch On-Going Specials

By Molly Stark Dean Comment

CBS launches its new series “Tough Choices” tonight on the CBS “Evening News with Katie Couric” at 6:30pmET.  The launch is in conjunction with the bipartisan Federal Deficit Commission’s final report. “In the near term, there is no more pressing domestic issue for America than the deficit,” said Executive Producer Rick Kaplan said.

ABC News is starting an on-going special of their own titled “Afghanistan: Can We Win?” which will air across all ABC platforms. The series kicks off with George Stephanopoulos co-anchoring “Good Morning America” from Kabul on Monday and continues throughout the week with reports from Martha Raddatz, Nick Schifrin, Bob Woodruff, and Mike Boettcher.

The press releases for the specials are after the jump…


“Tough Choices” Series Focused on U.S. Debt Will Launch Dec. 1 in Conjunction with the Federal Deficit Commission’s Final Report

CBS News announced today its new series, “Tough Choices,” launched in conjunction with the announcement of the bipartisan Federal Deficit Commission’s final report.  “Tough Choices” will debut tonight on the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC (6:30 PM ET), and will put into perspective the sacrifices that must be made in order to manage the nation’s debt.  The CBS News reports will outline the challenges and choices associated with keeping or cutting specific programs across a wide range of options, from changing Social Security to farm subsidies to health care benefits.

“In the near term, there is no more pressing domestic issue for America than the deficit,” said Executive Producer Rick Kaplan.  “The Evening News’ goal in ‘Tough Choices’ is to creatively cover the subject in a way that puts into perspective the tough choices legislators will have to make.  And by opening up the online dialogue, we will give a voice to our viewers, and hear what decisions they want their representatives in Washington to make.”

Wednesday’s broadcast of the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC will be devoted mostly to issues related to the debt and deficit of the U.S., including reports from CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin, Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, Business Correspondent Anthony Mason, National Correspondent Jim Axelrod and National Correspondent Ben Tracy.

As the “Tough Choices” series continues over the coming months, CBS News correspondents will examine specific programs worth at least $5 billion dollars, and clearly explain what each does, how much it costs and the impact of it being scaled back or cut altogether.  The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC will offer a look at the potential savings that can be achieved when considering each program investigated.

“Tough Choices” will debut Wednesday, Dec. 1, on THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC, and will be covered on the Web at


Results of an Exclusive Poll of Afghans to be Released on Monday, December 6 at 6 a.m., ET

George Stephanopoulos to Interview Gen. David Petraeus and Co-Anchor “Good Morning America”
from Kabul Monday, December 6

Martha Raddatz, Nick Schifrin, Mike Boettcher and Bob Woodruff to Contribute Reports for all
ABC News’ Broadcasts and Platforms Beginning on Sunday, December 5

The war in Afghanistan is now the longest war in U.S. history. In the past year it has seen several changes including a shift in strategy that sent 30,000 additional U.S. troops into combat and the appointment of a new commanding general. With President Obama set to review his strategy, ABC News’ broadcasts and platforms will report “Afghanistan: Can We Win?” beginning Sunday, December 5. The division-wide series will take hard look at the costs of war, the potential costs of withdrawal, and what winning entails.

A central component of the series is an exclusive, scientific national public opinion poll of nearly 1,700 Afghans sponsored by ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and The Washington Post. Individuals were interviewed about a range of topics, including the presence and performance of U.S. and allied forces; Taliban activity; security and living conditions; development and economic opportunities; blame for civilian casualties; ratings of the Afghan government, Army and police; and views of the country’s direction overall.

This survey is ABC’s sixth in Afghanistan since 2005, allowing the network to track changes in Afghan attitudes as they’ve evolved over time. Field work was conducted by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR) in Kabul, with project design, management and analysis for ABC News by Langer Research Associates. The survey will be reported across all ABC News broadcasts and platforms and available online beginning at 6:00 AM on Monday, December 6 at

George Stephanopoulos will co-anchor “Good Morning America” from Kabul on Monday, December 6 and the program will feature a series of reports from the region throughout the morning.  Stephanopoulos will conduct an exclusive interview with the top Commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus. Then, Stephanopoulos talks with a group of U.S. soldiers at Bagram Air Base about the toll multiple deployments has on their lives, and their families back home. To understand the current situation for women in Afghanistan, Stephanopoulos moderates a roundtable of three prominent Afghan women on the progress that has been made, the consequences they could endure if the U.S. withdraws, and their hopes for the future. Stephanopoulos also spotlights two U.S. charities that are making significant contributions for Afghans with their own small-scale efforts.

Martha Raddatz, ABC News’ Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, was in Afghanistan as the final brigades of U.S. troops arrived as part of the surge earlier this year. The development of a capable Afghan National Security Force has been the centerpiece of President Obama’s war strategy. Raddatz is embedded with U.S. troops and their commanders to assess the progress that has been made since the surge began.

Nick Schifrin takes an in-depth look at how the war has affected the day-to-day lives of Afghans and what they envision for future of their country. President Obama set July 2011 as the beginning of a transition to Afghan control; Schifrin talks to Afghans about what that date means to them. In addition, Schifrin will travel across the border to look at the increasing dangers from inside Pakistan.

Bob Woodruff reports on Lima Company, a division of the Marines that was hit hard in Iraq and is now serving in Afghanistan. ABC News is embedded with the Marines in Afghanistan and with their families back home in Columbus, Ohio.

Mike Boettcher will report from Kandahar with the 101st Airborne Division. The battle for control of Kandahar, the second largest province in Afghanistan and a major stronghold of the Taliban, is one of the most watched and most important for the overall war effort. Boettcher provides a progress report from the ground.

Reports from “Afghanistan: Can We Win?” will air on all broadcasts including “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” and “Nightline.” Christiane Amanpour will moderate a special roundtable discussion on the progress in Afghanistan on “This Week” Sunday, December 5. Reports will also be featured on, ABC News Radio, ABC NewsOne, and ABC News NOW.

ABC News produced the first news-sponsored public opinion poll in Afghanistan in 2005. Its poll reports from Afghanistan and Iraq have won nine Emmy nominations and two Emmy awards – the first to cite public opinion polls – and in May 2010 were honored with the Policy Impact Award of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, which cited them as “a stellar example of high-impact public opinion polling at its finest.” These polls also have been recognized with the University of Iowa/Gallup Award for Excellent Journalism Using Polls and the 2005 National Council on Public Polls Excellence in Media Coverage of Polls Award.