Koppel Exits: On Deadline, As Always

By Brian 

“Fortified by a double mocha, Koppel didn’t sit down to write his closing remarks until Tuesday afternoon,” David Bauder says. “His final show was taped several days in advance except for the ending, taped Tuesday evening.”

A few Wednesday morning newspaper highlights:

> Tom Shales: “By and large, the relationship between the critic and the anchor was friendly, even though Koppel’s first words upon hearing the writer’s voice at the other end of the line were almost always, ‘Shales, you sleazy bastard.'”

> Joanna Weiss: “If you believed the promotions, Ted Koppel’s final ”Nightline” was to be a gentle leave-taking, another half-hour with wise Morrie Schwartz, a final dose of the heartwarming stuff. And it was, until the final moment — when Koppel, true to form, said what he clearly felt was warranted…”

> Contra Costa Times editorial: “Unlike many of the superficial anchors that populate the airwaves today, Koppel understood that few stories worth covering could be boiled down to 10-second sound bites. Koppel gave us nuance and complexity.”