Not Pretty Reviews for Nightline

Some choice quotes from TV critics on the new Nightline–needless to say, they aren’t exactly thrilled with the new set-up. In the Baltimore Sun, Dave Zurawik‘s is headlined “Style overtakes substance in new ‘Nightline,'” and over at USA Today, it’s not much prettier: “More is much less in revamped ‘Nightline.'” The NYDN hits a similar note: “New ‘Nightline’: More is less.”

Zurawik opens: “Nightline-without-Ted Koppel debuted in the wee hours Tuesday morning after ABC Monday Night Football and late local news. It was probably a good thing that many viewers had presumably already gone to bed. It was a smooth launch with no major glitches or serious mistakes. Give James Goldston, the new executive producer, credit for delivering a polished-looking production. But there is polished, and there is excessively slick. In trying to energize the broadcast through the use of flashing lights, banks of video monitors, quick camera cuts and a backdrop of Times Square, Goldston has created a garish-looking TV creature more reminiscent of the carnival midway than the pioneering broadcast whose name it bears. A stylistic marriage of prime-time newsmagazines and MTV, this hyped-up, neon-lit news program seems like the last thing one would want to see before trying to fall asleep.”

At America’s newspaper, Robert Bianco says, “In all but name, Nightline is gone. The show that premiered on ABC Monday night (or early Tuesday in the East, post-football) was a solidly produced newscast. But in tone, look and content, it was far closer to a half-hour version of 20/20 than it was to the distinctive classic Ted Koppel led for 25 years — and that is a tragedy. Something extraordinary has been replaced by the commonplace.”

The Daily News’ David Bianculli says, “The first installment of the drastically revamped, post-Ted Koppel edition of ABC’s “Nightline” was a wobbly affair…. Lock down the camera, and slow down the segments, and the new version of ‘Nightline’ (at 11:35 p.m.) will deserve to retain its time slot – and stand a better chance of building on that proud journalistic tradition. “