Former ABC News man Ted Koppel and Discovery Communications “have reached an amicable agreement to dissolve their relationship.” The move comes six months before the three-year contract was set to expire.
Koppel joined Discovery Channel in January, 2006 as Managing Editor. He brought with him long-time Nightline EP Tom Bettag, as well as eight other producers and staffers.
Koppel on Discovery, as it was called, covered a wide range of topics, including the acclaimed series on China, The People’s Republic of Capitalism. One of Koppel’s producers, John Alexander, died in China while on that assignment.
During the election, Koppel was a regular contributor to BBC America. He’s also a senior analyst with NPR.
Says Koppel in a press release, “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. We leave with gratitude for the professional opportunities we’ve been given and for the generosity with which we’ve been treated.”
The press release is after the jump…
Discovery and Koppel Group Reach Agreement
to Dissolve Relationship
(Silver Spring, Md.) Discovery Communications and the Koppel Group have reached an amicable agreement to dissolve their relationship six months before the expiration of the three-year contract that was due to conclude at the end of May, 2009. The mutual decision comes as Discovery Channel continues its focus on long-running series and specials in the network’s core nonfiction genres and emphasizes non-news content that has longer shelf life and appeal to audiences around the world. To date, the Koppel Group has produced fifteen hours of programming, including seven original documentaries for the network, all of which garnered critical acclaim.
Koppel joined Discovery Channel in January, 2006 as Managing Editor, bringing with him his long-time executive producer, Tom Bettag, and eight additional producers and staff members from ABC News’ NIGHTLINE.
Since beginning his partnership with Discovery Channel, Koppel and his team covered a wide range of topics, from their recent four-hour series on China and a two-hour broadcast on Iran, to the impact on society of our over-crowded prisons. The most personal project was the combined documentary and town meeting, “Living with Cancer;” which focused on the group’s long-time colleague and friend, Leroy Sievers, who died last summer after a three-year battle with cancer.
“We’ve had some glorious opportunities to produce the kinds of documentaries that Tom Bettag and I love,” said Koppel. “Among the most satisfying work we’ve ever done was last summer’s four-part series on China.”
Koppel continued, “There has been significant change in senior management at Discovery. 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. Discovery and I worked on terminating the contract a few months early under terms that both sides found acceptable. We leave with gratitude for the professional opportunities we’ve been given and for the generosity with which we’ve been treated.”
“Ted and his dedicated team have delivered remarkable, in-depth and unflinching portraits of issues affecting our lives and our planet — and for that we are proud and grateful,” said John Ford, President and General Manager, Discovery Channel. “Ted and his colleagues are gifted storytellers who raise the journalistic bar for our entire industry. They will be missed at Discovery and we wish them the best in the future.”