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Dan Rather
(Journalism)
Tom Brokaw
(Journalism)
Middle East
(Geographical area)
Gulf War
(Military)
CBS
(Movies & TV)
Pope John Paul II
(Religion)
Kati Marton
(Literature)
 

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Peter Jennings

Knowledge Identifier: +Peter_Jennings

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Peter Jennings

Canadian American journalist and news anchor add

Category: Journalism

Born in 1938.

Countries: United States (61%), Canada (9%), Lebanon (5%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Middle East

Linked to: Democratic Party, The Walt Disney Company, Washington State University, American University of Beirut

 

Timeline


 

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Peter Jennings was born in 1938 add something


1950

After the CBC moved his father to its Ottawa headquarters in the early 1950s, Jennings transferred to Lisgar Collegiate Institute add something


1961

By 1961, Jennings had joined the staff of CJOH-TV, a new television station in Ottawa add something

 

When the station launched in March 1961, Jennings was initially an interviewer and co-producer for "Vue", a late-night news program add something


1963

Ron Cochran - Despite the rival networks' expansion in 1963 of their evening newscasts to a full half hour, "ABC Evening News" would run only 15 minutes during Cochran's tenure; the network deferred expansion until Peter Jennings, his successor, took over the anchor's desk for his first stint


1964

In 1964, CTV sent Jennings to cover the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey add something


1965

In 1965, ABC News tapped him to anchor its flagship evening news program add something

 

On February 1, 1965, ABC plucked the fresh-faced Canadian from the field and placed him at the anchor desk of "Peter Jennings With the News", a 15-minute nightly newscast add something


1968

In 1968, he established ABC's Middle East bureau in Beirut , Lebanon, the first American television news bureau in the Arab world add something

 

Jennings became a foreign correspondent in 1968, reporting from the Middle East add something


1970

As ABC's Beirut bureau chief, Jennings soon became familiar with the intricacies of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the rise of the Palestinian Black September Organization during the early 1970s add something

 

In the late 1970s, a disastrous pairing of Harry Reasoner and Barbara Walters at the anchor desk left the network searching for new ideas add something


1972

In 1972, Jennings covered his first major breaking news story, the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes by Black September add something

 

Dick Clark - ABC has broadcast the event on every New Year's Eve since 1972 except in 1999 when it was preempted for "ABC 2000 Today", news coverage of the milestone year hosted by Peter Jennings


1973

Charles Glass - Glass began his career in 1973 with ABC News in Beirut , where he covered the Arab-Israeli war in Syria and Egypt with Peter Jennings


1974

Jennings returned to the U.S. at the end of 1974 to become Washington correspondent and news anchor for ABC's new morning program "AM America", a predecessor to "Good Morning America" add something


1975

"AM America" debuted on January 6, 1975, with Jennings delivering regular newscasts from Washington add something

 

In November 1975, Jennings moved abroad once again, this time as ABC's chief foreign correspondent add something


1978

He continued to cover the Middle East, and in 1978 he was the first American reporter to interview the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, in exile in Paris add something

 

He returned as one of "World News Tonight"'s three anchors in 1978, and was promoted to the role of sole anchor in 1983 add something

 

On July 10, 1978, "World News Tonight" debuted with Frank Reynolds in Washington, Max Robinson in Chicago , and Jennings in London add something


1979

By the summer of 1979, the innovative broadcast, which featured some of the same glitzy presentation as Arledge's previous television coup, "Wide World of Sports", had climbed in the ratings add something

 

In 1979, he married for the third time to fellow ABC correspondent Kati Marton add something


1980

Along with Tom Brokaw at NBC and Dan Rather at CBS, Jennings formed part of the "Big Three" news anchors who dominated American evening network news from the early 1980s until his death in 2005, which closely followed the retirements of Brokaw and Rather add something

 

When his contract expired with ABC in the early 1980s, Jennings flirted with the possibility of moving back to Canada and working with the CBC on its new nightly newscast, "The Journal" add something


1981

The announcement signaled a generational shift in the evening news broadcasts, and the beginning of what the media would deem the "Big Three" era of Jennings, Dan Rather of CBS, and Tom Brokaw of NBC. Rather had already been elevated to anchor in 1981 after the retirement of Walter Cronkite, and Brokaw of "NBC Nightly News" was set to become sole anchor the same day as Jennings add something


1982

In 1982, Jennings' and Marton's second child, Christopher, was born add something

 

Jennings reported on the Iranian Revolution and subsequent hostage crisis, the assassination of Sadat, the Falklands war, Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and Pope John Paul II's 1983 visit to Poland add something


1983

He was the sole anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer add something

 

On July 20, 1983, Reynolds died unexpectedly after developing acute hepatitis add something

 

On August 9, 1983, ABC announced that Jennings had signed a four-year contract with the network and would become the sole anchor and senior editor for "World News Tonight" on September 5 add something

 

Jennings' debut on September 5, 1983, marked the beginning of a steady climb in the ratings for ABC News add something


1984

He spent his first year at the anchor desk educating himself on American domestic affairs in preparation for the 1984 presidential campaign season add something

 

"I had not covered an election campaign in 16 years," Jennings said, "so here was I going to co-anchor with David Brinkley in 1984, and he wasn't even sure I knew who the faces belonged to, and he was right add something

 

"'Jennings' performance during the 1984 presidential campaign was analyzed in a 1986 study led by Syracuse University professor Brian Mullen add something

 

In June 1984, Jennings, who later admitted that his political knowledge was limited at the time, co-anchored ABC's coverage of the Democratic National Convention with David Brinkley add something


1985

Television critic Tom Shales noticed a pro-Reagan bias in Jennings' reporting, referring to ABC as "a news organization that is already considered the White House favorite" in May 1985 add something

 

Dan Rather - After a dip to second place, Rather regained the top spot in 1985 until 1989 when he ceded the ratings peak to rival Peter Jennings at ABC's World News Tonight


1986

Jennings was praised for his performance during the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, when he anchored ABC's coverage of the event for 11 straight hours add something

 

Ronald Greenwald - On February 3, 1986, the ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings credited Rabbi Greenwald with playing a role in the negotiations for the release of Sharansky and featured a video clip of Rabbi Greenwald expressing optimism that Sharansky would be released


1987

The couple had previously split in 1987 for four months after Jennings found out that Marton was having an affair with "Washington Post" columnist Richard Cohen add something


1988

At the peak of his popularity, Jennings was named "Best Anchor" by the "Washington Journalism Review" in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1992 add something

 

Mullen's team repeated the study to analyze Jennings' performance in the 1988 presidential election, concluding that the ABC anchor again favored a Republican candidate add something


1989

Bob Woodruff - His career in journalism dates back to 1989, and he is widely known for succeeding Peter Jennings as co-anchor of ABC News' weekday news broadcast, World News Tonight in December 2005


1990

Jennings' on-air success continued in 1990, and "World News Tonight" consistently led the ratings race add something

 

The early 1990s served up a series of difficult experiences and public embarrassment for Jennings add something


1991

Gulf War - Jennings was known for his marathon coverage of breaking news stories, staying on the air for 15 or more hours straight to anchor the live broadcast of events such as the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991, the Millennium celebrations in 2000, and the September 11 attacks in 2001 add something

 

When the Gulf War started on January 16, 1991, Jennings began a marathon anchoring stint to cover the story, spending 20 of the first 48 hours of the war on-air, and leading ABC News to its highest-ever ratings add something

 

On October 13, 1991, breaking news forced ABC News to interrupt regular Saturday morning programming again add something

 

Gulf War - In the United States, the "big three" network anchors led the war's network news coverage: ABC's Peter Jennings, CBS's Dan Rather, and NBC's Tom Brokaw were anchoring their evening newscasts when air strikes began on 16 January 1991


1992

ABC dedicated more time to covering the conflict than any other network from 1992 to 1996 add something

 

Politics dominated network news in 1992 add something

 

On September 9, 1992, ABC announced that it would be switching the format of its political coverage to give less recognition to staged sound bites add something


1993

On August 13, 1993, Jennings and Kati Marton publicly announced their separation in "Newsday" add something


1994

"'In 1994, the three major networks devoted 1,592 total minutes to covering the Simpson criminal case; while ABC had 423, CBS had 580 and NBC 589 add something

 

In January 1994, he locked horns with his executive producer on "World News Tonight", Emily Rooney add something

 

Jennings pleased some conservatives though, after his three-year lobbying effort to create a full-time religion correspondent at ABC News succeeded in the hiring of Peggy Wehmeyer in January 1994, making her the first such network reporter add something

 

The anchor drew fire from conservatives, such as the MRC and Cal Thomas, for his November 14, 1994, remarks on ABC Radio, in which he analyzed the results of the 1994 U.S. midterm elections add something


1995

War in Bosnia and Herzegovina - The Simpson trial was the number-one news story for NBC and CBS in 1995, while at ABC, coverage of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina dominated the newscast add something

 

The Radio and Television News Directors Association awarded Jennings its highest honor, the Paul White award in 1995, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to journalism add something

 

At a taping of a "town meeting" segment for KOMO-TV of Seattle in February 1995, Jennings expressed regret for his ABC radio remarks on the 1994 midterm elections add something

 

Juju Chang - Her earliest award was an Alfred I. duPont Award in 1995 for a series on women's health produced with Peter Jennings

 

Lisa Salters - Prior to joining ESPN, Salters served as a Los Angeles-based correspondent for ABC News from 1995 to 2000 and provided news coverage for "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings and other ABC News broadcasts


1996

Despite these critical successes, in 1996, "World News Tonight" started gradually slipping in the ratings race add something

 

Jennings stated in a 1996 interview that he was satisfied that ABC came in third in terms of O.J. coverage add something

 

Tom Brokaw - "Nightly News" had moved into first place in the Nielsen ratings in late 1996 and held on to the spot for the remainder of Brokaw's tenure on the program, placing him ahead of ABC's Peter Jennings and "World News Tonight", and CBS's Dan Rather and the "CBS Evening News"


1997

Although changes were made to "World News Tonight" to restore its luster and stop the hemorrhaging, "Nightly News" ended 1997 as the number-one evening newscast add something


1998

A 24-hour strike by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians disrupted ABC's coverage of 1998's November elections after talks between the union and ABC broke down add something

 

On May 29, 1998, David Westin succeeded Roone Arledge as president of ABC News add something

 

Designed as a companion book for ABC's upcoming documentary series of the same name, the book topped the "New York Times" Best Seller List in December 1998, a month after it debuted add something


1999

On December 31, 1999, Jennings was on the air for 23 straight hours to anchor "ABC 2000 Today", ABC's massive millennium eve special add something


2000

As he did in 2000, Jennings moderated the 2004 Democratic presidential primary debate, which was held that year at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire add something

 

With another presidential election taking place in 2000, Jennings had some more political reporting duties that year add something


2001

The two began writing the book in early 2001; after the terrorist attacks, they revisited many of the people they had interviewed to see how the events had affected them add something


2002

Jennings anchored a six-part television series in September 2002, which featured the same name as the book add something

 

Toby Keith - ABC invited Keith to sing "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" on a 2002 Fourth of July concert it was producing, rescinded the invitation after host Peter Jennings heard the song and vetoed it


2003

Jennings' work on "In Search of America" and the September 11 attacks contributed to his decision in 2003 to become a dual citizen of Canada and the United States add something


2004

By late 2004, Brokaw had retired from his anchoring duties at NBC, ceding the reins to Brian Williams; Rather planned to step down in March 2005 add something

 

In 2004, he was awarded with the Edward R. Murrow award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting from Washington State University add something

 

For the week of his death, "World News Tonight" placed number one in the ratings race for the first time since June 2004 add something

 

However, despite having almost always reported from the scene of any major news story, Jennings was sidelined by an upper respiratory infection in late December 2004; he was forced to anchor from New York during the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, while his competitors traveled to the region add something

 

Steve Squyres - ABC News featured Squyres as its Person of the Week for January 9, 2004, and "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings said he "has gotten us all excited


Peter Jennings died in 2005 add something

 

On April 1, 2005, he anchored "World News Tonight" for the last time; his poor health prevented him from covering the death and funeral of Pope John Paul II add something

 

On April 5, 2005, Jennings informed viewers through a taped message on "World News Tonight" that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and was starting chemotherapy treatment the following week add something

 

On April 29, 2005, Jennings posted a letter on ABCNews.com with an update of his status and expressing thanks to those who had offered him their good wishes and prayers add something

 

He posted another short letter of thanks on July 29, 2005, his 67th birthday add something

 

The 57th Primetime Emmy awards on September 18, 2005, included a tribute to Jennings by Brokaw and Rather add something

 

His daughter, Elizabeth, accepted the insignia on his behalf in October 2005 add something

 

CBS Evening News - The death of anchor Peter Jennings in 2005 coupled with the adoption of a dual-anchor format on "World News Tonight" and life-threatening injuries suffered by Bob Woodruff when an Iraqi military convoy he rode in hit a road-side bomb, leaving Elizabeth Vargas as sole anchor, in January 2006 put the ABC News division in flux


2006

On February 21, 2006, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg designated the block on West 66th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West as "Peter Jennings Way" in honor of the late anchor; the block is home to the ABC News headquarters add something

 

In October 2006, The Walt Disney Company, which bought ABC in 1996, posthumously named Jennings a Disney Legend, the company's highest honor add something


2011

In January 2011, Jennings was posthumously inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Television Hall of Fame add something