"Sometimes I think the whole industry just packed up and joined the circus." --Jerry Seinfeld on television, at today's NBC sales gathering at Radio City Music Hall
We're doing something tonight that we started here a few months ago. By approaching a single sponsor to in effect "underwrite" Nightly News, we are able to do a newscast with limited commercial interruption -- which means more news -- and we intend to fill that widened slot with a special package of reporting that attempts to look into the future. We've asked a number of experts what the year 2017 might look like...what technology and medicine and education might be like in a decade. I will close the broadcast with some great past predictions that we've discovered.
In "spot" news tonight -- no shortage there, either. We have the ongoing situation in Iraq -- Americans missing, Americans killed -- the crippled vessel off the Alaskan coast, the Georgia fire(s), and word of the pending sale of Chrysler to a private equity firm. As someone said over the weekend: those Americans who aren't sure what private equity firms DO...are about to find out. Same goes for Chrysler's employees.
ABOUT TOMORROW NIGHT...
Nightly News will originate from London on Tuesday night. We are going there to conduct an interview with Tony Blair, a U.S. network exclusive. After 10 years as Prime Minister, he's had a key and unique role in world history for a decade. We will meet at No. 10 Downing Street and will air the first and most prominent part of our conversation tomorrow night. Further portions will air Wednesday morning on Today, Sunday evening on Dateline and in a full-length special broadcast on MSNBC. As part of our agreement with the Prime Minister, we will also get a glimpse of his day and his life. We'll be back in New York for Wednesday's broadcast. We're excited about the trip because of the chance to hear from a figure in modern history...and because we really like jet lag.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...
To fellow Sopranos fans: I don't know what's left to say, but I'm not going to give up that easily: how about "Comfortably Numb?" That version with Van Morrison from The Departed soundtrack is, as a friend of mine put it, "Like being in Church." It's a transforming song -- perhaps among the top three Van Morrison recordings of all time. David Chase, always crafty, apparently selected music by song title this week and not by melody per se. Consider "Comfortably Numb," "Outta My Head" by M. Ward, and the Pretenders' "The Adultress." After getting over the shock of knowing exactly where the dump site was, after getting over the shock of the opening sequence (and what a cruel and poetic and haunting and soaring use of the Roger Waters song) I joined others in sitting back and letting the peyote take effect. Loved, as usual, the small stuff: Carm's Apple, Dick Cavett, Kate Hepburn, and the twisted infant seat imagery. Proof that the writing captures the language of my upbringing: I don't think I've ever been to an open-casket wake where a family member has not said, regardless of the age or condition of the deceased, "they did such a good job on him/her..." The episode left everyone a little sadder for watching. The acting was perhaps the best in over a year. We're down to the final three -- those of us who love the show have long realized major changes must come and major characters must go -- and yet are we ever prepared? A trusted-associate-turned-troubled-associate is now gone. He is not likely to be the last departure. It left us all less than comfortably numb. What a towering piece of work David Chase has created.
Okay, the respite from the work day is over.
Back to the news and the day job. We're putting together the half-hour (which, thanks to tonight's LCI -- limited commercial interruption -- is a lot closer to a full half hour. We hope you can join us tonight from our studio in New York, and we'll look for you from London tomorrow night.
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