Ted Koppel: Wikis


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Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel in 2008
Born Edward James Koppel
February 8, 1940 (1940-02-08) (age 69)
Lancashire, England,
United Kingdom
Occupation Journalist, News anchor
Spouse(s) Grace Anne Dorney
Children Andrea, Deirdre, Andrew, Tara
Notable credit(s) Nightline (1980–2005)

Edward James "Ted" Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is an American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation.


Personal life

Koppel, an only child, was born in Lancashire, England, after his German Jewish parents fled Germany due to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism.[1] Koppel, at 13, immigrated to the United States in 1953 with his family. His mother, Alice, was a singer and pianist, and his father, Edwin, was a tire factory owner.[2] He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science Degree and from Stanford University with a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communications Research and Political Science. Koppel returns to Syracuse University regularly as a guest speaker. He was a member of the student-run WAER and keeps in touch with the student media at Syracuse.[3] He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.[4]

In 1963, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and married Grace Anne Dorney, on May 17.

Koppel is multilingual and speaks German, Russian, and French in addition to his native English.

Koppel is an old friend of Henry Kissinger. Both Kissinger and Koppel moved to the United States as children. As Secretary of State, Kissinger once offered Koppel a job as his spokesman, but Koppel declined. Along with former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Kissinger was the most frequent guest on Nightline.[5] In an interview, Koppel commented, "Henry Kissinger is, plain and simply, the best secretary of state we have had in 20, maybe 30 years -- certainly one of the two or three great secretaries of state of our century," and added, "I’m proud to be a friend of Henry Kissinger. He is an extraordinary man. This country has lost a lot by not having him in a position of influence and authority".[6]

Ted and Grace Anne have four children: Andrea (a journalist), Deirdre, Andrew, and Tara.



Early career

Koppel had a brief stint as a teacher before being hired as a copyboy at WMCA Radio in New York. In June 1963, he became the youngest correspondent ever hired by ABC Radio News, working on the daily Flair Reports program. In 1966 Koppel worked for ABC Television as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War. Koppel returned in 1968 to cover the campaign of Richard Nixon, before becoming Hong Kong bureau chief, and US State Department correspondent, where Koppel formed a good friendship with Henry Kissinger.


Koppel was criticized for being a conduit for the government's point of view. In the late 1980s, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a 40-month study of 865 editions of Nightline and concluded, "On shows about international affairs, U.S. government policymakers and ex-officials dominated the Nightline guest list. American critics of foreign policy were almost invisible." In 1987, Newsweek opined, "The anchor who makes viewers feel that he is challenging the powers that be on their behalf is in fact the quintessential establishment journalist". Koppel responded to this criticism, saying, "We are governed by the president and his cabinet and their people. And they are the ones who are responsible for our foreign policy, and they are the ones I want to talk to".[5]

Departure from Nightline

On November 22, 2005, Koppel stepped down from Nightline after 25 years with the program and left ABC after 42 years with the network. His final Nightline broadcast did not feature clips highlighting memorable interviews and famous moments from his tenure as host, as is typical when an anchor retires. Instead, the show replayed the highly acclaimed episode of Nightline with Koppel's 1995 interviews with retired Brandeis University sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, who was dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). For this broadcast, Koppel interviewed sports journalist Mitch Albom, who had been a student of Schwartz. Albom talked about how the Nightline interviews led and inspired him into contacting Schwartz personally, and then visiting him weekly. These visits became the basis for the popular book Tuesdays with Morrie, chronicling lessons about life learned from Schwartz.

After the show's last commercial break, Koppel made his final remarks prior to signing off:

There's this quiz I give to some of our young interns when they first arrive at Nightline. I didn't do it with the last batch; it's a little too close to home. "How many of you," I'll ask, "can tell me anything about Eric Sevareid?" Blank stares. "How about Howard K. Smith or Frank Reynolds?" Not a twitch of recognition. "Chet Huntley? Jack Chancellor?" Still nothing. "David Brinkley" sometimes causes a hand or two to be raised, and Walter Cronkite may be glad to learn that a lot of young people still have a vague recollection that he once worked in television news. What none of these young men and women in their late teens and early 20s appreciates, until I point it out to them, is that they have just heard the names of seven anchormen or commentators who were once so famous that everyone in the country knew their names. Everybody. Trust me, the transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal. Cronkite begat Rather, Chancellor begat Brokaw, Reynolds begat Jennings. And each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right. You've always been very nice to me, so give this new anchor team for Nightline a fair break. If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry. And that's our report for tonight. I'm Ted Koppel in Washington, and from all of us here at ABC News, good night.

Following Nightline Koppel has taken on a number of roles which span various formats of news media:

Discovery Channel

Following his departure from Nightline Koppel formed a three-year partnership with Discovery Communications as managing editor of the Discovery Channel. While at Discovery Koppel produced several lengthy documentaries on a variety of subjects including a four-hour miniseries on China, which Koppel "ranks with some of the work that [he is] most proud of over the years." [10] Koppel and Discovery Communications parted ways in November, 2008, terminating their contract six months early, prompting rumors that Koppel would be hired for NBC's Meet the Press. Koppel has stated that he is not interested in the job.[11]


References in pop culture

  • Koppel is referenced in Gilmore Girls in episode 9 of season 4 entitled "Ted Koppel's Big Night Out"
  • Koppel is referenced in Rent ("Smile for Ted Koppel, Officer Martin").
  • Koppel is referenced in The Simpsons in Episode 1F14 ("Homer Loves Flanders"), when, after Ned Flanders is shown waking up in the middle of the night with the stunning realization that he hates Homer Simpson, Homer similarly wakes up suddenly and says, "Marge, I think I hate Ted Koppel. No, wait. I find him informative and witty."
  • Also on The Simpsons, in the episode You Kent Always Say What You Want, Kent Brockman interviews Homer on Smartline, a parody of Nightline. Later in the episode, Kent says "The press and the government are in bed together in an embrace so intimate and wrong, they could spoon on a twin mattress and still have room for Ted Koppel."
  • On The Simpsons, in the episode Homer: Bad Man, at the end, when Godfrey Jones from Rock Bottom accepts that the media sometimes make mistakes, a list of corrections scrolls very fast across the TV screen. If slowed down, one can see that one of the corrections is "Ted Koppel is a robot."
  • Koppel is referenced in the song "Redefine" by Incubus, from their album S.C.I.E.N.C.E.: “It's in your nature, you can paint whatever picture you like. No matter what Ted Koppel says on channel 4 tonight.”
  • Koppel is also spoofed in an episode of MADtv and it is said that he resembles MAD Magazine's Mascot, Alfred E. Neuman
  • Koppel has been parodied on Saturday Night Live by Joe Piscopo, Dana Carvey, and Darrell Hammond.
  • Koppel is in the book Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.
  • In season one of Reba, Reba says "Hi I'm Ted Koppel".
  • Koppel is also spoofed on "The Jamie Foxx Show" with Jamie Foxx as Tyrone Koppel.
  • Koppel is referenced in the song "Mighty Healthy" by Ghostface Killah, from his album "Supreme Clientele": "Hit mic like Ted Koppel"
  • Koppel is pictured on both the front and back covers of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #5 "Ted Koppel's Very Very Special Thing".
  • Koppel was parodied on the Warner Brothers cartoon Animaniacs. The character's name is "Fred Floppel," voiced by Frank Welker.
  • Koppel was mentioned on Dan Warren's album entitled "Make Room For Dada".
  • In Muppets from Space at the end of Miss Piggy second scene with Josh Charles, she runs off screen and comes back on and said "Oh, come on, please, Do you think Ted Koppel never gets excited?"
  • Koppel is fictionally portrayed by actor Ron Fassler in the 2009 superhero film Watchmen.

See also

  • Koppel on Discovery: Iran, The most Dangerous Nation? (2006)
  • Koppel on Discovery: Iran, The Price of Security (2006)
  • Koppel Is mentioned in rapper Ghostface Killah's song, Mighty Healthy, 2000
  • In 2008 Koppel visited the Defense Intelligence Agency for the Distinquised Speaker Series


External links

Preceded by
Frank Reynolds
Nightline anchor
March 24, 1980 – November 22, 2005
Succeeded by
Terry Moran, Cynthia McFadden, and Martin Bashir


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ted Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is a television journalist in the United States.


  • This is an industry, it's a business. We exist to make money. We exist to put commercials on the air. The programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap. [1]


  • I have the necessary lack of tact.

External links

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