Anne Sweeney Wants Ryan Seacrest Inc.

Broadcasting & Cable today published a long interview with Disney/ABC TV Chief Anne Sweeney (subscription required), and here is what’s interesting:

— The “one piece of talent” on the air whom she doesn’t have currently and wants? Why, the Viscount Of Vapidity: “I was just thinking about Ryan Seacrest, but we just had him for New Year’s Eve. He’s a terrific talent. I think he is the hardest working person in television — I have never seen anyone so committed and do such a great job in every single venue. He produces Jamie Oliver for us, he does New Year’s Eve. He’s a great talent.”

— Jimmy Kimmel has “made a tremendous amount of progress in 7 years”.

— ABC can continue to operate the news division without a 24-hour cable component or merging its news operation. “I think there are many different opportunities out there right now, not just for news but for entertainment as well. If you look at what ABC News did when we collaborated during the election with Facebook, that’s a very interesting distribution platform for news. There are many platforms to consider for news, and I think we need to think expansively as a news division going forward and not limit ourselves to thinking of news as just a broadcast and/or cable play.” But Sweeney acknowledges that “we’ll certainly be talking to [Bloomberg] again”.

— There won’t be as much entertainment vs news division head-butting between Ben Sherwood and Paul Lee as there was between David Westin and Steve McPherson. “Early on in Paul’s tenure, the Chilean miners were trapped and the world was waiting to see them emerge, and I think Paul’s background at BBC News really came into play. He ran down the hall with [ABC scheduling chief] Jeff Bader and said, ‘What does News need? These men are going to be coming back to us tonight, and what should we be doing?’ I think Paul’s news background will prove very helpful to Ben. And I think since Ben has spent time in the entertainment space — let’s not forget, he wrote a couple of books and one was made into movie — Ben does understand the world that Paul is operating in as well.”

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