- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2008

‘Daily Cafe’ partners

Retirement Living TV (RLTV), the nation’s first network dedicated to adults 50 and older, and NBC News have announced a co-production of “Daily Cafe,” a one-hour news and current-affairs program.

The program will be broadcast live from Washington and New York, the country’s most influential cities, with hosts Fred Grandy in the capital and Alex Witt at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Mr. Grandy has been a morning show co-host on WMAL-AM radio. He also served four terms as a congressman from Iowa and before that played the affable Gopher on “The Love Boat.” He was president and chief executive officer of Goodwill Industries before working the key morning drive shift for WMAL, PRNewswire reports.

Mr. Witt is an anchor and correspondent for MSNBC.

“The ‘Daily Cafe’ partnership is a great way to share NBC News with a wider audience and specifically tailor our programming to fit the needs of mature adults,” said Cheryl Gould, senior vice president of NBC News.

During its first week, “Daily Cafe” will feature interviews with recording and film stars Elton John, Elvis Costello, Daniel Craig and George Hamilton. The program will feature prominent political journalists fresh off the campaign trail to give their viewpoints on the recent election and President-elect Barack Obama.

Season three of the show premieres at noon Tuesday.

Obama documentary

HBO has bought the U.S. rights to a behind-the-scenes documentary on Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign from actor Edward Norton’s production company, Associated Press reports.

Filming will continue through the president-elect’s inauguration, with the premiere expected sometime in the spring, the network said Friday. HBO reportedly paid at least $1 million to show the still-untitled film.

Director Amy Rice, working for Mr. Norton’s Class 5 Films, contacted Mr. Obama about a potential documentary even before he decided to run for president, HBO said. When Mr. Obama started his campaign and it became a success, Miss Rice and fellow director Alicia Sams found themselves in the right place at the right time.

Over 2 1/2 years, the filmmakers had “unprecedented” access to the candidate, his family, friends and campaign volunteers, HBO said.

Cuts at Disney, ABC

The Walt Disney Co.’s head of ABC Studios has asked its two dozen shows, including “Desperate Housewives” and “Dirty Sexy Money” to trim costs 2 percent this season as the company addresses a big loss at its broadcasting group, a spokeswoman said Friday.

According to AP, Disney reported Thursday that the group had a $150 million operating loss in the fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 27, compared with a $33 million loss a year earlier.

ABC Studios President Mark Pedowitz requested the cuts over the past few weeks, said studios spokeswoman Charissa Gilmore. “We have approached our shows about making a 2 percent cut,” she said. “It’s up to each show to identify where they are going to try to find those savings.”

Miss Gilmore said the focus would be on areas that would not be visible on-screen: “This is something that the audience will never notice.” She did not put a dollar figure on the cut.

Disney reported a worse-than-expected third quarter overall on Thursday. The company’s net income fell 13 percent from a year ago although its revenue grew 5.8 percent.

The loss at the broadcasting group was blamed largely on lower advertising revenue and in part on higher pilot expenses.

ABC News President David Westin asked his staff in a memo last week to fly in cheaper seats, stay at cheaper hotels and cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Holiday parties were canceled.

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