- - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ABC News head outlines goals for his division

ABC News‘ new advertising slogan is “See the whole picture,” and division President Ben Sherwood said Monday that reflects an effort to broaden his journalists’ definition of what they do.

Mr. Sherwood said his goal is to make ABC News one of the world’s premier providers of nonfiction content. While that doesn’t mean producing cheesy reality shows, Mr. Sherwood said his journalists need to have a more entrepreneurial eye about how they present information.

“We are journalists, we are storytellers, we are interested in the world,” Mr. Sherwood said. “We shouldn’t be interested in the way things have always been done.”

Mr. Sherwood has spoken little publicly during his year at the helm of ABC News, which is second behind NBC in ratings for its signature evening newscast. During that time “Good Morning America” and “Nightline” have improved in the ratings.

Those programs and “World News” have increased the amount of lifestyle and celebrity news they offer, leading to some criticism that ABC is emphasizing softer news at a time rivals at CBS have opted for a more meat-and-potatoes approach.

Mr. Sherwood told reporters Monday that he rejected labels such as “hard” or “soft” news and said that ABC’s yardstick is relevance to its viewers.

He cited ABC’s coverage of Bank of America’s dropped plans to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee as an example of a story that might not fit a traditional hard news agenda but is one that is important to viewers.

‘Mad Men’ star promises new episodes in March

“Mad Men” last aired a new episode in October 2010. But relief is in sight, according to star Jon Hamm.

Mr. Hamm revealed on a podcast last week that the premiere of the fifth season of the AMC network drama is March 25.

He also said he will direct that episode. He appeared on Friday’s edition of the podcast “Doug Loves Movies,” hosted by comedian Doug Benson.

AMC declined to confirm the date. The return of the show follows protracted negotiations after the fourth season between Lionsgate, the studio that produces it, and its creator-executive producer, Matthew Weiner.

Shelton, McEntire to re-team for Country Music Awards

Get ready for another dose of Blake Shelton as country’s hottest leading man joins Reba McEntire again this year as co-host of the Academy of Country Music Awards.

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