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Andy Rooney’s secret for enjoying the news

Why does Andy Rooney enjoy watching the news? “…partially because I have a drink of bourbon with it,” he told an audience of students and faculty members on Thursday at a speech at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. We actually found that pretty darn funny since I find Rooney best appreciated after a ‘shroom or two, but that’s a whole other story. According to a report on the talk by the student-run Tufts Daily, Rooney holds out hope for the future of news, saying: “It has the prospects of being stronger than ever. There are good young people in the news business.” His examples? Jon Stewart and Al Franken. Now don’t get me wrong, I can tolerate Franken, and I like Stewart, but I wouldn’t pin the future of broadcast journalism on either of them.

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It’s 10pm. Do you know where your anchors are?

Tim Taylor and Wilma Smith of Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW should be home by 10pm now that they’ve signed new deals limiting them to anchoring just the 6pm broadcast (they’ll continute to do both through December). According to The Beacon Journal, the new deal will allow Taylor and Smith “more time with their families, something both anchors said they wanted.” Interestingly (or bizarrely, depending on your love of animals), Smith’s bio on the WJW Web site, “Wilma lives on Cleveland’s East Side with her husband Tom and their ‘family’: Clifford and Clarence, two beagle brothers and Cassandra, their beagle sister.”

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End of the “Nightline”

File this one under “Signs that entertainment is winning out over hard news.” The Wall Street Journal reported today that the 25-year-old newsmagazine is again on life support now that a key executive producer is walking. Co-executive producer Leroy Sievers, who has been with Nightline for about a decade and basically runs the show, is negotiating an exit package because ABC is pushing “fundamental changes to the format and the direction that the broadcast takes in the future.” The network’s last attempt to ‘change the format’ involved installing David Letterman behind Ted Koppel’s desk. ABC backtracked when the negotiations became public, but conventional wisdom is that network still wants an entertainment show in that timeslot, yet we love our London Phone Number. Entertainment shows have larger audiences and command higher prices (according to the story a commercial on “Nightline” costs $30,000 versus $70,000 on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno”). Right about now Comedy Central is looking pretty smart for signing to Jon Stewart to a long-term contract earlier this year.