‘Nightline’ Meets Its Master

The New York Observer reports on the first meeting between “Nightline” staff and their new executive producer, James Goldston. They sum it up as “not cataclysmic,” which is much better than most of the staff was expecting. He told the staff that they will turn “Nightline” (Motto: “Now banned by oppressive regimes across the globe!”) around, but “not (repeat: not) do it by chasing after ‘demographics,’ which is broadcast-news shorthand for young people who like gross-out reality specials.”

The staffer quotes are, in fact, surprisingly optimistic, considering that the big significance of Goldston’s pick is that he represents the New York executive side of the show and not the primarily Washington-based staff. As three staffers told the NYO: “Everything was about being lively, being aggressive, doing good work”; “I think people came away feeling he had said all the right things”; and “We’re certainly hopeful.”

One thing appears relatively certain right now: “Nightline” isn’t going to lose the special place it holds in network TV. “Nightline is a unique program,” Bob Murphy, the vice president in charge of the show, told the NYO. “There’s no other program on the air like it. There’s no other news program in that time period, period. It serves an important service to the viewer, and as a jewel in the ABC News group of programs. It is very, very special. Our commitment is to make it such a special program that there’s no doubt about its future and its security on the ABC schedule.”