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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Odds & Ends 9/18/13


CNN’s Chief International correspondent Christiane Amanpour has secured the first interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his historic trip to the United States later this month. President Rouhani will be in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly. It will be his first speech to the world community as the new President of Iran and will likely represent a change in tone and substance. A moderate candidate, Rohani won the Islamic republic's presidential election in June after campaigning on a "hope and prudence" platform in which he appealed to traditional conservatives and reform-minded voters alike. In a speech after his election, Rouhani said he would seek a “constructive interaction with the world.”


CNN Original Series “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” ranked #1 among cable news networks in total viewers and P25-54 during its season 2 premiere on Sunday, September 15 (9-10 p.m. ET) with the episode “Jerusalem.”

Also on Sunday, “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” won two 2013 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards: Outstanding Informational Series or Special, and Outstanding Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming (“Myanmar”).

Below is the breakdown for the 9-10pm ET hour: 

CNN Collaborates With Tom Hanks' & Gary Goetzman’s PLAYTONE
Original docuseries co-produced with Herzog & Company bows with a special presentation of

“The Assassination of JFK” in November 2013
CNN, Playtone, and Herzog & Company are co-producing a provocative, sweeping 10-part documentary series that will explore perhaps the most transformative decade of the modern era.  The non-scripted series will be executive produced by multiple EMMY® Award-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman (HBO’s John Adams and The Pacific), and EMMY® Award-winning producer Mark Herzog (History’s Gettysburg) of Herzog & Company (HCO), as a CNN original series for CNN/U.S., it was announced today.   
“From protests to war, to human rights, the Beatles, innovative technologies, and politics, the 1960s were an extraordinary era of consequential cultural and global change,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide.  “We are so pleased to partner with Tom, Gary, and HCO to bring this very special series to our audience.  Projects like this are emblematic of exactly the type of programming that we need more of, signifying a new direction and expanded sensibility at CNN.”
THE SIXTIES will launch with a 90-minute special episode, “The Assassination of JFK (1963),” broadcast on CNN/U.S. in November 2013, and timed with the observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The inaugural episode will explore the key conclusions of the controversial Warren Commission, as well as the shocking impact of the assassination upon the nation, and upon American politics. 
The series will resume in April 2014 with episodes about the events and people that shaped our history and character as a nation.  Episodes will focus on the indelible impact of music and technology of the era, drugs, “free love”, and rock and roll.
Key moments of the era will be revealed and explored through archival newsreel footage, personal movies, and interviews with eyewitnesses to history.  Expert commentary from historians, including David McCullough, Robert Dallek, and Robert Caro, as well as recollections from people whose lives intersected with destiny, such as Dan Rather, Robert MacNeil, and others, will infuse new relevance to the cultural touchstones at the center of each episode. 


Leading television and film executive Albie Hecht has been named Executive Vice President and GM of HLN, effective September 30. Hecht, who founded Spike TV and was the president of Nickelodeon Entertainment prior to that, is currently the CEO of Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio. As HLN’s new leader, Hecht will oversee all aspects of HLN’s programming, management, day-to-day operations, as well as He will be based in New York and report to Jeff Zucker, President, CNN Worldwide, who made today’s announcement.

“Albie is one of the most creative executives in our industry. His diverse experiences at Viacom gave him a keen understanding of cable television, where he created some of media’s most well known brands and franchises. All of that, coupled with his lifelong passion for news and information, makes him the perfect fit for HLN,” said Zucker. “I wanted someone who could build off the strength that currently exists at HLN, which is enjoying one of its highest rated years ever, and evolve the network and its fast-growing digital properties even more.”

"Three key factors made the decision to join HLN easy: the opportunity to further evolve a noted brand, reinvent news in a digital age and work for Jeff, an industry giant," said Hecht.  "Creating engaging and buzzed about content across multiple platforms is in my DNA, and I am excited to make magic with the talented team at HLN."  

A veteran of MTV Networks, Hecht led the transition and rebranding of the former Nashville Network to its current men's network franchise, Spike TV. During his tenure as creator and president of Spike, he was responsible for signing the network's ratings juggernaut Ultimate Fighting Championship. Prior, Hecht was president of Nickelodeon Entertainment and oversaw the development of the network's hit series and films including SpongeBob SquarepantsDora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, the live action show All ThatThe Rugrats Movie (the first non-Disney animated movie to earn more than $100 million domestically) and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the latter which received an Oscar nomination.  A founding principal and executive producer for Chauncy Street Productions, Hecht also co-created Nickelodeon's  highly successful Kids Choice Awards, a long running franchise which attracts A-list Hollywood talent.

Hecht's  extensive career also includes a wide range of successful documentary and nonfiction projects through his non-profit Shine Global including producing this year's Academy Award® winning short documentary Inocente, and War/Dance (2007) which was nominated for an Academy Award® and won an Emmy for Best Documentary.   Hecht most recently served as chief executive officer of Worldwide Biggies, a digital entertainment studio creating original IP for young adults and the digital family and was named to "Hollywood Reporter's" Top 50 Digital Power Innovators in 2008.  Earlier in his career, Hecht was a manager of pop music acts and was an executive at Lifesong records. 

In 2013, Hecht lent his skills to academia as the founding director of the New Media Lab at CUNY's Macauley Honors College, the first public undergraduate media lab for the study and production of transmedia content.  On September 25, he will be inducted into the CableFAX 2013 Program Hall of Fame which honors those who create excellent content. 

Hecht has a newly married daughter, Kay and a newly Stanford graduate son, Alex.  He resides in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife Susan MacLaury, his dog Jackson and his collection of antique technology.  

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