Roone Arledge Quotes (31 Quotes)


    I think we have erred on the side of being too conservative so far, to tell you the truth.

    One of the towering people in this industry said, why don't you go and make a five-year contract with somebody, make yourself several million dollars and put it away, then go and do whatever you want, work for public TV if you want.

    A lot of people told me that the job of making ABC News competitive was so difficult and so long that it wasn't worth the trouble.

    Most of what we report from Congress they don't care about unless it affects them directly.

    I think people tuned in a lot to see Barbara when she first came here and they just didn't like the show they saw. I think it was dull. It was sterile.


    It doesn't mean we shouldn't mention a Lebanese cabinet crisis, for example, but we don't have to spend two minutes with it from the Middle East.

    So you have a built-in dilemma. Do you want to go after older people who watch news or younger people who watch ABC entertainment shows.

    If you don't have the rights, you can't do the show.

    Television is a powerful medium that has to be used for something better than sitcoms and police shows. On the other hand, if you don't recognize the forces that play on what people watch and what they don't then you're a fool and you should be in a different business.

    I don't think any industry was ever as closely scrutinized and written about and constantly in the public eye as television.

    His real monument is 60 Minutes . He is truly an innovator in this business. I still believe Don deserves the credit for it the idea of the news magazine format it is an innovative format no one had done before. It's been copied all over the world, including several times by us. He's been a leader in our industry. He has inspired all sorts of people.

    But unlike the setup in most organizations, where there's an administrator on top and creative people or doers underneath, I'm basically a doer and I like to have administrative people underneath me.

    While there seems to be a major commitment now, historically there hasn't been. It's not an automatic thing where they say we gotta cover that.

    I want everybody in the news business to think of ABC before they go any place else. If it costs us an extra few thousand dollars to do that, what does it mean?

    I don't think the news department will have to lie down and play dead like it has in the past. By and large the network has been understanding, but then so have I.

    I'm sensitive about my image of being hard to reach.

    People also don't care about the daily comings and goings of diplomats and yet we must report it.

    They're indispensable. They're the glue that holds a newscast together.

    In the past ABC has made half-hearted efforts or, worse, cosmetic efforts, to do something about news and I wasn't certain about what their real aim was - nor am I now.

    As you put together a show you have to assume that you are their only source of national and international news. You have to be the paper of record.

    In fact, I had a series of offers which would have brought me a lot of money to make films and package TV programs. There were people who said to me, we'll put a million dollars in your bank account tomorrow, which is a hard thing to turn down.

    We probably paid Cassie a little more than we had to but it was done because I wanted to make a statement that we are here and we're serious.

    The current wisdom now is that if the three networks are covering the news the same way the difference is the anchor people. I think that won't be true in the future.

    He brought us instant stature, instant integrity, instant quality that ... defined the early struggling days of ABC News.

    He said, 'Of course, you understand we have to offer it to CBS and NBC first because of existing contracts. I was about to slit my throat.

    But if you cover the World Series on the news or do a feature on an Ali boxing match then all of a sudden ears go up all over the place and people say what the hell are you doing. The reason for that is that we're doing something that people are really interested in.

    People essentially like local news better than network news.

    One of the reasons why when Elvis dies or the Son of Sam is captured ABC News' ratings go up is because people who don't normally watch news are watching then. The question is, do you want to attract people who don't watch network news or fight over the people who do?

    I don't think people realize the extent to which TV networks are hurt when they carry public broadcasting. I think the estimate is that they lose a half-million dollars for a half day's programming.

    I don't expect to win every battle but I think Fred Pierce has enough respect for me that I can go fight my battles and win my share.

    I respect the game that goes on of putting this against that, but I don't respect, nor do I enjoy, an awful lot of the actual programs that go on the air.


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