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American Koppel: Ted Jumps to Cable

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The Discovery Channel, your go-to cable channel for middlebrow documentaries, Monster Garage, I Shouldn’t Be Alive, American Chopper and finer motorcycle-custom-shop-based reality shows, is the new employer of former Nightline host Ted Koppel. A press release issued this morning says the home of MythBusters has hired Koppel — along with his longtime producer and eight Nightline staffers — to produce "long form programming examining major global topics and events."

The move follows speculation that Koppel would make a similar deal with HBO, and while it probably won’t appease Nightline partisans who believe ABC has sold out TV journalism by easing out Koppel, it makes sense. In a fragmented media market, in-depth, contemplative investigations such as Koppel specializes in simply aren’t a mass-market product anymore — but they’re probably just about right for a large-ish cable channel.

Koppel’s first work for the network is expected to appear in the fall, though there were no details on what it would be. Me, I’m hoping for Ted Koppel Walks with Dinosaurs.