Koppel to Leave ABC

Ted Koppel, the "Nightline" anchor and a 42-year veteran of ABC News, will leave the network in December.

"Ted and I have discussed a number of options under which he might have remained at 'Nightline' or in some other capacity at ABC News, but Ted believes this is the right time for him to leave," ABC News President David Westin said today in an e-mail announcement to the network's news division.

"As much as I will regret his leaving, he is firm in his conviction, and I respect his decision."

Koppel's contract expires Dec. 4. His long-time executive producer, Tom Bettag, also will be leaving ABC.

Koppel's first job in journalism was as a desk assistant with WMCA Radio in New York City. In 1963, he joined ABC News as a general assignment reporter. From 1971 to 1980, he was ABC News' chief diplomatic correspondent, and for two years, beginning in 1975, he anchored "The ABC Saturday Night News."

Koppel is best known for his work as the anchor and principal reporter for "Nightline," a late-night news program launched in 1980 as a nightly update on the Iran hostage crisis. During the past 25 years, Koppel has become synonymous with the show's format of background reports on current events, followed by interviews with newsmakers.

Koppel has won 41 Emmy Awards, 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 duPont-Columbia Awards, 10 Overseas Press Club Awards, two George Polk Awards and two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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