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Edward James "Ted" Koppel (born February 8, 1940) is an Americanmarker broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until Koppel retired in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008. Koppel is currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Personal life

Koppel, an only child, was born in Lancashiremarker, Englandmarker, after his Germanmarker Jewish parents fled Germanymarker due to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Koppel, at 13, immigrated to the United Statesmarker in 1953 with his family. His mother, Alice, was a singer and pianist, and his father, Edwin, was a tire factory owner. He graduated from Syracuse Universitymarker with a Bachelor of Science Degree and from Stanford Universitymarker with a Master of Arts Degree in Mass Communications Research and Political Science. Koppel returns to Syracuse University regularly as a guest speaker. He was a member of the student-run WAER and keeps in touch with the student media at Syracuse. He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

In 1963, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen , and married Grace Anne Dorney, on May 17.

Koppel is multilingual and speaks German, Russian, and French in addition to his native English.

Koppel is an old friend of Henry Kissinger. Both Kissinger and Koppel moved to the United States as children. As Secretary of State, Kissinger once offered Koppel a job as his spokesman, but Koppel declined. Along with former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Kissinger was the most frequent guest on Nightline. In an interview, Koppel commented, "Henry Kissinger is, plain and simply, the best secretary of state we have had in 20, maybe 30 years -- certainly one of the two or three great secretaries of state of our century," and added, "I’m proud to be a friend of Henry Kissinger. He is an extraordinary man. This country has lost a lot by not having him in a position of influence and authority".

Ted and Grace Anne have four children: Andrea (a journalist), Deirdre, Andrew, and Tara.


Early career

Koppel had a brief stint as a teacher before being hired as a copyboy at WMCA Radio in New Yorkmarker. In June 1963, he became the youngest correspondent ever hired by ABC Radio News, working on the daily Flair Reports program. In 1966 Koppel worked for ABC Television as a war correspondent during the Vietnam War. Koppel returned in 1968 to cover the campaign of Richard Nixon, before becoming Hong Kongmarker bureau chief, and US State Departmentmarker correspondent, where Koppel formed a good friendship with Henry Kissinger.


Koppel was criticized for being a conduit for the government's point of view. In the late 1980s, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a 40-month study of 865 editions of Nightline and concluded, "On shows about international affairs, U.S. government policymakers and ex-officials dominated the Nightline guest list. American critics of foreign policy were almost invisible." In 1987, Newsweek opined, "The anchor who makes viewers feel that he is challenging the powers that be on their behalf is in fact the quintessential establishment journalist". Koppel responded to this criticism, saying, "We are governed by the president and his cabinet and their people. And they are the ones who are responsible for our foreign policy, and they are the ones I want to talk to".Solomon, Norman. - "Ted Koppel: 'Natural Fit' at NPR News and Longtime Booster of Henry Kissinger". - Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). - January 16, 2006

Departure from Nightline

On November 22, 2005, Koppel stepped down from Nightline after 25 years with the program and left ABC after 42 years with the network. His final Nightline broadcast did not feature clips highlighting memorable interviews and famous moments from his tenure as host, as is typical when an anchor retires. Instead, the show replayed the highly acclaimed episode of Nightline with Koppel's 1995 interviews with retired Brandeis Universitymarker sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, who was dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). For this broadcast, Koppel interviewed sports journalist Mitch Albom, who had been a student of Schwartz. Albom talked about how the Nightline interviews led and inspired him into contacting Schwartz personally, and then visiting him weekly. These visits became the basis for the popular book Tuesdays with Morrie, chronicling lessons about life learned from Schwartz.

After the show's last commercial break, Koppel made his final remarks prior to signing off:

Following Nightline Koppel has taken on a number of roles which span various formats of news media:
  • He signed up as an opposite editorial-contributing columnist, effective January 29, 2006, for New York Times.
  • Starting in June 2006, he has provided commentary to Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Day to Day on National Public Radio, joining NPR's other two Senior News Analysts, Cokie Roberts and Daniel Schorr. As such, he participated in the annual NPR Fourth of July reading of the Declaration of Independence in 2007.
  • Koppel makes occasional guest appearances on The Daily Show appearing in extreme close-up as a disembodied head, acting as Jon Stewart's journalistic conscience, sometimes as the replacement for the so-called "Giant Head of Brian Williams" projected on the screen behind Stewart. Koppel has jokingly insisted that "this is the actual size of [Koppel's] head" * Koppel has worked for [[BBC News]] as a "contributing analyst" covering the [[2008 Democratic National Convention]]. * In 2008, Koppel took an extensive look into the changing world of China with the four part [[Documentary film|documentary]] on [[The Discovery Channel]], ''[[The People's Republic of Capitalism]]''. The series takes a look at China's growing economy and their role as consumers in a [[communist]] [[country]].[ "On the Trail of Consumerism in a Booming Chinese City." Genzlinger, Neil. July,2008.] === Discovery Channel=== Following his departure from ''Nightline'' Koppel formed a three-year partnership with Discovery Communications as managing editor of the Discovery Channel. While at Discovery Koppel produced several lengthy documentaries on a variety of subjects including a four-hour miniseries on China, which Koppel "ranks with some of the work that [he is] most proud of over the years." Koppel and Discovery Communications parted ways in November, 2008, terminating their contract six months early, prompting rumors that Koppel would be hired for NBC's Meet the Press. Koppel has stated that he is not interested in the job.


References in pop culture

  • Koppel is referenced in Gilmore Girls in episode 9 of season 4 entitled "Ted Koppel's Big Night Out"

  • Koppel is referenced in Rent ("Smile for Ted Koppel, Officer Martin").

  • Koppel is referenced in The Simpsons in Episode 1F14 ("Homer Loves Flanders"), when, after Ned Flanders is shown waking up in the middle of the night with the stunning realization that he hates Homer Simpson, Homer similarly wakes up suddenly and says, "Marge, I think I hate Ted Koppel. No, wait. I find him informative and witty."

  • On The Simpsons, in the episode Homer: Bad Man, at the end, when Godfrey Jones from Rock Bottom accepts that the media sometimes make mistakes, a list of corrections scrolls very fast across the TV screen. If slowed down, one can see that one of the corrections is "Ted Koppel is a robot."

  • Koppel is referenced in the song "Redefine" by Incubus, from their album S.C.I.E.N.C.E.: “It's in your nature, you can paint whatever picture you like. No matter what Ted Koppel says on channel 4 tonight.”

  • Koppel is also spoofed in an episode of MADtv and it is said that he resembles MAD Magazine's Mascot, Alfred E. Neuman

  • In season one of Reba, Reba says "Hi I'm Ted Koppel".

  • Koppel is also spoofed on "The Jamie Foxx Show" with Jamie Foxx as Tyrone Koppel.

  • Koppel was mentioned on Dan Warren's album entitled "Make Room For Dada".
  • in Muppets from Space at the end of Miss Piggy second scene with Josh Charles, she runs off screen and comes back on and said "Oh, come on, please, Do you think Ted Koppel never gets excited?"

See also


  2. Ted Koppel Biography (1940-)
  5. Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1989.
  6. "13 Times". - New York Times. - January 13, 2006
  7. Koppel. - NPR. - January 12, 2006
  8. Paul J. Gough, "Ted Koppel, Discovery parting ways" Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
  9. Paul J. Gough, "Ted Koppel, Discovery parting ways" Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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