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Ted Koppel leaves Discovery Channel before his contract is up

November 25, 2008 |  9:05 am

Tedkoppel Veteran newsman Ted Koppel is leaving his perch at the Discovery Channel six months before his contract is due to expire in May, the network announced today. Discovery called his departure “amicable.”

Koppel, who joined the channel in 2006 to produce long-form news programs, said that new senior management at Discovery had less interest in the kinds of projects he was brought aboard to do.

“Producing our kind of news-related programs is an expensive proposition,” he said in a statement. “It has long been clear that neither of us is interested in an extension of the current contract. Discovery and I worked on terminating the contract a few months early under terms that both sides found acceptable. We leave with gratitude for the professional opportunities we've been given and for the generosity with which we've been treated."

Koppel did not immediately announce his future plans. While at Discovery, the longtime ABC anchor produced 15 hours of programming on a range of topics, including a four-hour series on China and a documentary and town hall meeting called “Living With Cancer,” inspired by his former executive producer Leroy Sievers, who died this summer after a three-year battle with cancer.   

“Ted and his dedicated team have delivered remarkable, in-depth and unflinching portraits of issues affecting our lives and our planet -- and for that we are proud and grateful," John Ford, president of Discovery Channel, said in a statement. "Ted and his colleagues are gifted storytellers who raise the journalistic bar for our entire industry. They will be missed at Discovery and we wish them the best in the future."

-- Matea Gold

(Photo by Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)

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