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Diane Sawyer stepping down from 'World News' in September

ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer taping a

(Credit: AP / ABC, Ida Mae Astute)

Diane Sawyer, one of the driving forces in network news of the last quarter-century and only the second solo female anchor for an evening news broadcast, will step down from ABC's "World News" in September, ABC announced Wednesday morning. 

She will be replaced by David Muir, "World News" anchor for the weekend telecasts.

Here's the statement from ABC News chief James Goldston: 

"At...

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Eli Wallach, a TV interview

Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson lend their names

(Credit: Handout)

The great method actor Eli Wallach died yesterday at the age of 98. His was a career that spanned stage, screen and TV - although mostly the first two. His TV roles began in the early '50s, but he had the good sense perhaps of staying away from establishing himself in a regular role - say, in a western that would have kept him away from his first love and where he achieved his major suiccess, as...

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CBS fall premiere dates

CBS has announced fall premiere dates. The full  list: 

Thursday, Sept. 11

7:30-8:25 p.m. "Thursday Night Football Pre-Game Show"

8:25 p.m. "NFL Thursday Night Football" (Pittsburgh @ Baltimore) 

Sunday, Sept. 21

7-8 p.m. "60 Minutes" (47th season premiere)

8-9 p.m. "Madam Secretary" (series debut)

9-10 p.m. "The Good Wife" (6th season...

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Joan Lunden, breast cancer diagnosis

Journalist Joan Lunden attends the Woman's Day 8th

(Credit: Getty Images)

Joan Lunden, former co-host of "Good Morning America," announced on the program Tuesday morning that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and has begun her treatment. See the clip below. A few quick Lunden facts: She was co-anchor from 1980 to '97; is mother to five, including three daughters from her first marriage; has authored eight books; and is a well-known and widely traveled health advocate...

 Here's what she wrote on her blog... 

I have already begun my chemotherapy and I am blessed to have my husband Jeff and my three older daughters with me every step of the way. I am so thankful to have the support, wisdom, and guidance from all my doctors and the loving support of my family and my friends. I know I have a challenge ahead of me in this journey, however I have chosen to take it as an opportunity to fulfill my father’s legacy and try to inspire others to protect their health.
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'American Idol' judges to return -- all of them

Judges Keith Urban, left, Jennifer Lopez and Harry

(Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

They're back -- all of them, so that professional "American Idol" watchers can no longer claim that everyone is abandoning the franchise: Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. will return as judges, for the 14th season. And just in time for July 23rd auditions at Nassau Coliseum. They are good judges so this is good news ... (and good certainly for beleagured "Idol," which needed some stabilizing news right about now.Judge turnover has been endemic in recent seasons).

“Jennifer, Keith, Harry and Ryan are the very best in the business at what they do, and I’m thrilled that they are returning to "American Idol" for another season. Each brings unique qualities and expertise to the team, but they all share the same passion for helping undiscovered singers achieve the American dream,” said David Hill, senior executive vice president, 21st Century Fox.

AMC's 'TURN' gets a second season

Heather Lind as Anna Strong and Jamie Bell

(Credit: AMC / Antony Platt)

AMC's "Turn" - which didn't get a whole lot of critical attention over its just-concluded 10-episode run but apparently more than enough of the viewer sort - just earned a second season. 

 The statement, via AMC chief Charlie Collier: 

“Craig Silverstein, Barry Josephson [producers and creators] and a talented cast and crew delivered a truly distinctive and engaging premiere season. We look forward to continuing this revolutionary journey into season two. “AMC and its creative partners have a track record of nurturing programs we collectively believe in, patiently growing viewership and engagement over time. With ‘TURN,’ once again, we dive in with our partners to build upon this very promising first season.”

Based on the story of Revolutionary War spy Abe Woodhull of Setauket, AMC says the series attracted a respectable 2 million viewer average over its duration. 

'Rising Star' premiere: Good for Long Island's Jesse Kinch, but is new ABC singing show too gimicky to last?

Jesse Kinch, of Seaford, is among contestants on

(Credit: ABC / Craig Sjodin)

The "Star" has risen -- ABC's "Rising Star," the network's big, brassy, gimmicky answer to "The Voice" and "Idol" -- and predicated on the simple notion that those cellphones in your pocket don't do enough already.

How was it? (Results here.)

The vox populis have yet to speak -- ABC's overnights which are promised shortly. But ABC does in fact expect bigness here: The idea of swiping...

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LI'er Jesse Kinch on ABC singing competition series, 'Rising Star'

Josh Groban, host of "Rising Star," after his

(Credit: Getty Images)

Under normal circumstances, another Long Islander on another unscripted TV series would not be the biggest news of the moment, but this may not be a normal circumstance, or moment: Long Islander Jesse Kinch, of Seaford, will be on Sunday's season premiere of ABC's "Rising Star" at 9. He'll compete against nine other individual singers and groups.

Here's more on Kinch, via ABC: "A full-time musician and singer, Jesse plays guitar, piano, bass and drums and also writes music. He counts many of rock’s greatest artists as his influences including John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen and many more. If he wins he’d love to bring rock and roll to the masses. Twitter: @jessekinch; Instagram: jessekinch"

  ABC is clearly expecting a huge turnout Sunday for this: It's worked social media relentlessly, and the reception already would appear to be promising, insofar as "Rising Star" is engineered to the instant-gratification-web-sated-and-raised generation that may end up watching. "Star" asks that viewers download an app  that will enable them to swipe a vote in real time for a contestant. "Star" has indeed gotten much advance publicity - and has been noted in frequent recent stories that chronicled the struggles of singing competition series like "American Idol," wondering whether this is the Next Flavor or Just Another Flavor. We'll know by Monday morning. 

   Here's ABC's description in some detail:  

Josh Groban will host, and country music superstar Brad Paisley, music sensation Kesha and hip-hop artist and actor Ludacris comprise the expert panel on ABC’s “Rising Star,” the next evolution of live television. “Rising Star” completely reinvents the traditional singing competition as--for the first time ever--the audience has the final say in real time. The show follows a group of aspiring singers as they perform live. During the performances, viewers vote in real time via an app to determine if the singer will advance in the competition. If the voting reaches a certain threshold, the performer moves on.

Short-form Beyoncé series to launch on HBO

Singer Beyonce performs on her "Mrs. Carter Show

(Credit: AP)

Beyoncé -- who has a relationship with HBO going back to at least last year's much viewed "Life Is But a Dream" special -- will return to the network in a 10-part mini program series that draws from her performances in "Mrs. Carter Show World Tour."

How short? Four minutes... and here's the interesting part: Each of these mini-performance episodes will lead into "True Blood" beginning June 29. Each will start at 8:55 p.m.

Ask yourself the obvious question -- what Beyoncé or the tour have to do with "True Blood" -- and you will be forced to come up with the obvious answer: Nothing! But at least they'll benefit from the huge audience that will arrive each Sunday for the final season wrap of "True Blood."

The "Carter" tour, which ended in March, comprised 132 concerts in 27 countries. It was of course a huge event, and now, HBO/ "True Blood" fans will get a sanctioned (as opposed to a pirated YouTube) look at the highlights.  

 

NBC orders Bear Grylls series -- with celebrities

The British-born survival expert Bear Grylls will star

(Credit: NBC )

If the idea of a series called "Running Wild" featuring Zac Efron sounds both interesting as well as slightly felonious, then NBC has got the forthcoming summer trifle for you — a new Bear Grylls series in which he'll bring along celebrities for the ride.

The stars:  Zac Efron, Ben Stiller, Channing Tatum, Deion Sanders, Tom Arnold and “Today” co-anchor Tamron Hall.

The idea: Each will go out with Grylls for 48 hours on various adventures: "From skydiving into the Catskill Mountains, to rappelling down the cliffs of Utah and battling torrential wind and rain in Scotland ..."  (The obvious solution to his latter adventure is to get an umbrella, but apparently that's not an option.)

 "Running Wild With Bear Grylls" begins July 28. 

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