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Arledge Expects Koppel To Stay Put

October 22, 1987|JAY SHARBUTT | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Ted Koppel has had a variety of job offers and has talked publicly of wanting to be Secretary of State. But he probably will stay with ABC News and "Nightline," ABC News President Roone Arledge said Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, Arledge said he and Koppel have talked in general terms about what the Emmy Award-winning anchorman, whose ABC contract expires in December, wants to do in the future.

"He is a person who has always had a sense of himself as to what he wanted to do," Arledge said of Koppel, who has been with ABC News for 24 years and began anchoring its acclaimed late-night news program in March, 1980.

However, Arledge said: "I am confident that he will end up still on 'Nightline' " after a new contract is negotiated, although that process probably will be "elaborate" because "he enjoys negotiating."

Arledge also said both ABC News and ABC Entertainment are working on proposals for programs that would air after "Nightline." But he didn't elaborate, other than to say ABC News has been talking with Cable News Network talk-show host Larry King about a post-midnight program.

Arledge spoke to visiting TV reporters who are here this week to see new programs and interview stars and executives of all three networks.

Arledge criticized the new people-meter ratings system as frivolous and complained--as he did last spring--about the shift of the long-running "20/20" news series from Thursday to Friday nights this season.

But he refused the opportunity to needle a rival when asked what he thought of the six-minute blackout that anchorman Dan Rather caused CBS in September when he left the set while a tennis telecast was carried over into the time allotted to the "CBS Evening News." Rather has said the incident was an accident.

Arledge agreed, saying that while he hadn't talked to Rather about it, "everybody accepts that that was kind of a fluky accident."

He puckishly smiled when asked with whom he would team Kathleen Sullivan--who recently left ABC News for CBS--on the new CBS News morning program she'll start co-anchoring Nov. 30.

"Howard Stringer, probably," he said. "He has a lot of glitter and he leaps through the screen at you."

Stringer is president of CBS News.

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