CNNABCNEWS MERGE COULD BE BY JANUARY; TROUBLED AOLTIMEWARNER MAY DELAY
Get ready for the biggest, baddest news organization the world has ever seen.
Where Peter Jennings will share with Larry King who will share with Diane Sawyer who will pair with Amanpour with a dare from Barabra Walters.
Will we care?
The marriage between CNN and ABC NEWS could be ready to consummate as soon as January, according to a high-impact report set for launch from Bill Carter and Jim Rutenberg.
But don't book the honeymoon suite just yet:
New questions have arisen over whether the leadership at AOLTIMEWARNER would delay any deal as it copes with other issues roiling the company.
Not to mention if George Stephanopolus is now going to have to share office space with Wolf Blitzer.
"The board may be a little gun-shy for various reasons," one executive involved in the discussions tells CarterRutenberg in planned Monday runs. "Not because they think it's a bad deal. I'm just not sure they want to take on a big, potentially controversial deal right now."
Living by the old adage: only the strong will survive, the plan, as it has been worked out by the two sides, would be to form a new entity, a joint venture to manage the two news operations: Two-thirds owned by AOLTIMEWARNER, a third owned by ABC parent DISNEY.
But each news operation would maintain its own identity, it will be claimed.
The entity would have a single management structure and would be overseen by a board that, under one possible plan, would be composed of two officers from DIS and two from AOL.
Approval could hinge on the position of Ted Turner. Executives involved in the talks said Turner's position: was unclear.
And who will call the shots, make the final live news decisions at the new CNNABCNEWS?
Will it be ABCNEWS President David Westin, a third? Or CNN Chair Walter Isaacson, two thirds?
As reported by Claire Shipman with an edit from John King as conveyed by Ted Koppel after being confirmed with Connie Chung who thought she had just left ABC.
Big Media. One happy family.
DRUDGE REPORT - NOV 10, 2002