- - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CNBC ‘Squawk’ anchor Mark Haines dies at 65

Mark Haines, co-anchor of CNBC’s morning “Squawk on the Street” show, died unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, the network said. He was 65.

The network said he died in his home. It did not specify the cause of death.

Mr. Haines worked at CNBC for 22 years, as the Associated Press reported, after working as a news anchor at TV stations in Philadelphia, New York and Providence, R.I.

He was the founding anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” morning show. In 2005, he started co-anchoring “Squawk in the Morning,” a 9-to-11 a.m. show, with Erin Burnett, while “Squawk Box” was pushed to an earlier slot. Ms. Burnett recently left CNBC to host a general news show on CNN.

CNBC President Mark Hoffman said Mr. Haines was “always the unflappable pro.”

“He was an authentic voice in business media,” said Eric Jackson, who runs the hedge fund Ironfire Capital. “He resonated with so many people because he would speak out, and with opinion. Too often the media lets the corporate PR army and highly trained CEOs get their points across without question. He wouldn’t let that happen.”

Barry Ritholtz, head of the research firm Fusion IQ and frequent guest on CNBC, said Mr. Haines was “a no-nonsense straight shooter. He knew what questions to ask and how to ask them.”

Mr. Ritholtz said that the biggest complaint about CNBC in the 1990s was that its anchors cheered on the stock-market bubble. He said the exception was Mr. Haines, who was always skeptical.

“He was trained as an attorney,” Mr. Ritholtz said. “He brought that keen lawyer’s eye to everything he did. It wasn’t something often seen in the financial media.”

Mr. Haines had a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, CNBC said.

Mr. Haines is survived by his wife, Cindy, his son, Matt, and his daughter, Meredith.

CNBC said funeral arrangements have yet to be made.

Finale of ‘Oprah Winfrey‘ airs after 25-year run

Oprah Winfrey ended her famous talk show Wednesday by telling her viewers of 25 years that they weren’t saying goodbye.

“I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say until we meet again,” Miss Winfrey said.

She hugged and kissed her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, and shook hands with audience members before walking through the halls of Harpo Studios in Chicago, hugging and crying with her staff.

Miss Winfrey shouted “We did it!” The last shot of the finale showed Miss Winfrey walking away with her cocker spaniel, Sadie.

Earlier, Miss Winfrey walked on stage to a standing ovation from her studio audience. She thanked the viewers for watching for a quarter of a century.

“Twenty-five years and I’m still saying, ‘Thank you America,’ ” Miss Winfrey said. “Thank you so much. There are no words to match this moment.”

Miss Winfrey told viewers that sometimes she was a teacher, but more often her viewers instructed her. She called Wednesday’s episode her “last class.”

The final “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which was taped in Chicago on Tuesday, opened with a clip from her first show.

Miss Winfrey was the only person on stage with little background music and very short flashback clips.

“When she came out, her appearance, the way she stepped on stage and the message she brought [was] about finding yourself, your purpose,” audience member Wanda Nash, 47, of Chicago, an executive assistant and foster parent, told the Associated Press. “It was all about Oprah.”

Some fans across the country planned parties for the finale. Sharon Evans, 53, of Chicago had pancakes with her mother and girlfriends.

“She was very subdued today, and I appreciated that she was taking that last hour not to showcase any celebrities or favorite things,” Ms. Evans said. “It was truly what she said, a love letter to us.”

Tuesday’s taping came a week after Hollywood A-listers and 13,000 fans bid Miss Winfrey farewell in a double-episode extravaganza at Chicago’s United Center. The shows that aired Monday and Tuesday included Aretha Franklin, Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jordan and Madonna, among other stars of television, music and movies.

The bare-bones final taping nevertheless had its share of celebrities in the audience, including Tyler Perry, Maria Shriver, Suze Orman and Cicely Tyson. None of them joined Miss Winfrey on stage.

There were 404 audience members, according to Harpo Productions. The show received 1.4 million ticket requests throughout its final season, the company said.

Hines Ward part of a string of ‘Dancing’ athletes

It’s become a proud athletic tradition: winning “Dancing With the Stars.”

When Hines Ward took home the mirror-ball trophy on the hit show Tuesday, he joined its winningest group of alumni: athletes. Professional athletes have taken the “Dancing” title six times in the past 12 seasons, the Associated Press reports.

Since the show premiered stateside in 2005, three Olympians, two football stars and one race-car driver have been named “Dancing” champs. Three other NFL stars and an Olympic skater finished the popular show in second place.

Mr. Ward, a Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former Super Bowl most valuable player, credits his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson, with their dance victory. He plans to keep his new mirror ball right next to his Super Bowl trophy.

“It’s special,” the 35-year-old said, glittery trophy in hand. “With football, it takes all 53 guys. With this mirror ball, it was just Kym and I together in the studio putting in the hours. I’m just glad I didn’t let her down.”

Mr. Ward consistently posted high scores throughout the 10-week competition, and judges praised his showmanship and dedication.

“We’ve had some great footballers on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ but I don’t think any compare with Hines Ward,” head judge Len Goodman said during the season finale.

Mr. Ward was up against Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane for the Season 12 title. The actresses finished second and third, respectively.

Besides Ward, the other athletic “Dancing” champs are NFL star Emmitt Smith, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and gymnast Shawn Johnson. Football stars Jason Taylor, Warren Sapp and Jerry Rice were runners-up on the show, as was Olympic skater Evan Lysacek.

Professional athletes actively use their bodies for their work, so they have the mental discipline and physical fitness to train and adapt to the challenges of competitive dancing. They’re also more likely than other candidates to avoid over-training, said casting director Deena Katz.

The professional dancers on “Dancing With the Stars” are “world-class athletes,” said “Sport Science” host John Brenkus, so it follows that their fellow professional athletes might be able to keep up.

But not all can. Legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and pro wrestler Chris Jericho were dismissed from the show last month.

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