Ted Koppel has been added to the list of those replacing Playboy bunnies on NBC’s Monday lineup.
The well-known on-air newsman has been added to the stable of news talent attached to NBC’s new primetime newsmag, “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”
Koppel will be a “special correspondent” on the one-hour program, which is being unveiled on Halloween night, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m.
“My goal has been to make ‘Rock Center’ the Cooperstown of our craft,” Williams said in Thursday’s announcement.
(FYI, Cooperstown, NY, is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.)
“Ted is a consensus Hall of Famer, joining the best team of men and women on the air today,” Williams continued, adding that Koppel’s place in the history of television journalism is already established” and “it’s an enormous honor to work with this giant and former competitor.”
Koppel’s maybe best known for his ABC latenight newsmag “Nightline,” on which he presided as anchor and managing editor for more than 25 years, making him the longest-serving news anchor in network history.
Koppel’s appointment to “Rock Center” comes about six years after leaving “Nightline.” In between, he did a stint as managing editor of the Discovery Channel, anchoring and producing long-form programming.
During his 42 years at ABC News, Koppel also worked as anchor of “The ABC Saturday Night News,” chief diplomatic correspondent, Vietnam War correspondent and Hong Kong bureau chief.
Midseason entry “Rock Center” is replacing “Playboy Club” — the new TV season’s first cancellation. Early this month, NBC bounced the bunny drama, set at Hugh Hefner’s original Chicago club in the 60’s — right around the time Koppel switched from radio to television journalism — owing to its anorexic ratings.
Williams will also be joined on his new show with a lineup of contributors/special correspondents that includes Meredith Vieira, Harry Smith, Kate Snow, Matt Lauer, Ann Curry, Nancy Snyderman, and Richard Engel.
“Rock Center” is a reference to the famous Manhattan complex where NBC is based and which we continue to believe this is not a good enough reason to saddle Brian’s new show with such a lousy name.