Six months before the end of its three year contract that was due to expire at the end of May 2009, Discovery Communications and the Koppel Group have reached an amicable agreement to dissolve their relationship.
Ted Koppel joined the network in January 2006 as managing editor along with Tom Bettag, his long-time executive producer, as well as eight additional producers and staff members from NIGHTLINE. The Koppel Group has produced 15 hours of programming for the network including seven original docs which include a four hour series on China, a two hour program on Iran, a doc on the impact of prison over crowding on society and Living with Cancer, which followed the group’s friend Leroy Sievers, who died last summer, as he battled with the disease.
The decision to dissolve the contract early comes as Discovery continues to focus on long running series and specials over newsy content. ‘There has been significant change in senior management at Discovery. Producing our kind of news-related programs is an expensive proposition. It has long been clear that neither of us is interested in an extension of the current contract,’ says Koppel.
‘Ted and his dedicated team have delivered remarkable, in-depth and unflinching portraits of issues affecting our lives and our planet – and for that we are proud and grateful,’ said John Ford, Discovery’s president and GM. ‘Ted and his colleagues are gifted storytellers who raise the journalistic bar for our entire industry. They will be missed at Discovery and we wish them the best in the future.’