Mourning a ‘Happier and Funsier’ Nightline

Howard Kurtz manages to break absolutely no news in his round-up of the recent Nightline rumors. The article can best be summed up by the quote from an ABCNews spokesperson: “There’s been endless speculation and there will continue to be more speculation.”

In a slightly more interesting article, Tom Shales reviews tonight’s episode with the star of Hotel Rwanda. The article, entitled “The News Program That Ventures Beyond The Comfort Zone,” begins, “Even as ABC’s universally praised ‘Nightline’ totters yet again on a precarious perch — facing possible extinction or massive remodeling — the program that has brought more distinction to ABC News than any other continues in its resourceful and innovative ways,” and then goes on to talk about the truly impressive show tonight focusing around Don Cheadle’s trip to meet with refugees from Rwanda.

He concludes:

What will become of ‘Nightline’? It may be reworked into a happier and funsier show, presumably not the kind of program that would devote itself to conditions in African refugee camps. At every network now, what we have long known as ‘the news’ is under fire and endangered because it appeals only to viewers who know how to think and who give a hoot about the world around them. Those tend to be baby boomers and older, an “undesirable” demographic. Joking about his presence as a “Nightline” correspondent during the special report, Cheadle says, “They don’t need the ratings that badly.” It’s a nice thought — but, unfortunately, they do.