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Martin Bashir leaves "Nightline" joins MSNBC and "Dateline"

Martin Bashir is packing his bag of ratings and moving from his co-anchor chair at ABC News's "Nightline" to rival NBC News, where he will anchor a daily afternoon show on cabler MSNBC and contribute to "Dateline."

Bill Weir, who joined ABC News in 2004 and has worked as a reporter and a co-anchor of weekend "Good Morning America," is replacing Bashir on "Nightline, which has been getting strong ratings this season; joining the show's other co-anchors, Terry Moran and Cynthia McFadden.

Bashir starts with NBC News in September. He, of course, is the guy still best known for his ratings-magnet interview, "Living With Michael Jackson" which was purchased by ABC in 2003 and snared a stunning 27 million viewers in prime-time for the network. In that interview, Jackson talked to Bashir about sharing his bed with a young boy. Police investigated Jackson, the singer got slapped with those child-abuse charges, and Bashir got offered a full-time job at ABC News. He has co-anchored "Nightline" since October of 2005.

Bashir also conducted that attention-getting interview with Princess Diana, of which NBC notes, it "remains the only television interview with her," which it's probably safe to say won't change, given that she's dead.

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining MSNBC and NBC," Bashir said Wednesday in NBC's announcement.

"This is a rare and special opportunity - to host a daily news and current affairs show and also work on long-form journalism both at MSNBC and with 'Dateline.' This is an enormous privilege and I cannot wait to get started."

It's the first "Nightline" anchor switch since Ted Koppel left the show he launched - and also the first since ABC News president David Westin announced in late February the division would undergo a "fundamental transformation."

That transformation would, Westin said, include a push to "dramatically expand" its use of "digital journalists" who shoot and edit their own stories. Thursday, in an email to staffers, Westin noted that in Weir's travels for the division, coming under fire with American troops in Afghanistan, reporting on the rise and fall of General Motors, and looking into "the pursuit of happiness around the world," Weir "has been at the forefront of our adoption of all that new technology makes possible, often shooting his own material in the field and embracing new forms of reporting now possible in the digital world."

To the staff of ABC News, Bashir wrote, in a memo:

"I wanted to let you know, as my close working colleagues for a considerable period of time, that I will be joining MSNBC/NBC - to work in both daily and long-form journalism.

"Before I say anything more - I must acknowledge my debt of gratitude to each of you. It has been my privilege to partner with you at ABC and I shall forever be grateful for your professionalism, kindness and support. I do believe that we have always sought to reach for the very best in all our journalistic ventures.

"In the process, we have become more than colleagues - and so, even as I prepare to leave, I know that our friendship (which began six years ago) will continue into the future."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 22, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Bashir starts with NBC News in September. He, of course, is the guy still best known for his ratings-magnet interview, "Living With Michael Jackson" which was purchased by ABC in 2003 and snared a stunning 27 million viewers in prime-time for the network.


Best of luck to Mr. Bashir. I'll never forget how shocked and creeped-out he was after the Jackson interview.

Posted by: bbface21 | July 22, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Bashir also conducted that attention-getting interview with Princess Diana, of which NBC notes, it "remains the only television interview with her," which it's probably safe to say won't change, given that she's dead."


Ah Pookie. Your snarkasm always brings a smile to my face. :-)

Posted by: jpstang | July 22, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I can't stand Bashir!!!!!!

Posted by: jwilliams3 | July 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

wow..I can't believe that ANYONE would hire someone that deceitful.
I hope he sees Michael Jackson EVERYNIGHT in his sleep.

Posted by: kathypittman1 | July 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The good news is, I can watch ABC News and Nightline again. The bad news is I can no longer watch NBC News or Dateline.

Posted by: SoCalGal2 | July 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

man... whatever reasons NBC has, I will do the one thing I can control, meaning don't watch this guy "best known for his ratings-magnet interview" and also best known to have presented to the public what he wanted, not all he interviewed.
And after all these years all there is to say of that interview is "...the singer got slapped with those child-abuse charges"??? Come on!! The singer faced a trial and was acquitted of all those allegations because they were false!!!! I feel like you keep humiliating this man by not state the obvious truth! journalism all right?!

I hope the Washington Post let me suggest this not so old article about so called journalism:


Posted by: missdeniseb | July 22, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

He's a racists for an Indian. Good for ABC.

Posted by: mcaboy84 | July 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Now McFadden and Moran who gave the Blogger who caused all the problem for this lady who was fired, should go. They shoul work for some sort of glamor magazine show.

Posted by: truth1 | July 22, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye and good riddance. He is so full of himself.

Posted by: yeswecan3 | July 22, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

bashir most hated man in america right now. ugh!

Posted by: shell517nj | July 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I guess when they keep spreading the "trash" around, I'll have no choices left. This truly makes me sick. Most people know that Bashir is not a credible reporter so why bring him in unless you're steering more toward tabloid reporting. Maybe some people like to be lied to just because it's more "interesting" no matter who you bring down. You can get all the distortions you want on Fox.
I watch Morning Joe every morning, love Chris Matthews & the Today Show, but now I am so disgusted by NBC bringing Bashir in, I may just turn it off, period. I certainly will NOT watch anything to do with Bashir.
Someone previously stated that Bashir is the most hated man in America right now. Maybe that's why they want him. PATHETIC!!!

Posted by: cwd1 | July 22, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Good for ABC can now watch the channel again to bad NBC you just lost me as a viewer. How can they hire a known liar made his name off the backs of others with nothing but lies will never trust anything he says so I can't trust your channel

Posted by: kris1kel | July 22, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

You must be joking. All you need to know about that 'checkbook journalist' Martin Bashir is in this excerpt from the UK's Guardian newspaper:

"After Jackson's first counter-attack on Bashir for 'biased editing' and 'betrayal', the journalist was censured in Britain for misleading the father of a runaway teenage girl about the content of the programme he was making."

That he continues to be rewarded with lucrative contracts by the American Media is appalling.

Posted by: nellieo | July 23, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

[Bashir], of course, is the guy still best known for his ratings-magnet interview, "Living With Michael Jackson."

Are you kidding? A midget in a clown suit could've done that interview. It sure wasn't Bashir we were tuning in to see. Instead, the hour turned into a nightmare as we watched Bashir transform into Satan before our very eyes.

I don't like to hate people, but I DESPISE Martin Bashir.

Posted by: SoCalGal2 | July 23, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Bashir, Diane Diamond, Nancy Grace and Maureen Orth killed Michael Jackson with their lies that helped make them famous. The FBI proved they were liars with their fabricated stories of victims coming forward. The FBI spent millions of our taxpayers dollars to prove the so-called victims never existed. I will never watch MSNBC again!

Posted by: capeannmoves | July 24, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I am shocked at the ugliness and vindictiveness from a number of bloggers here, about Martin Bashir! Do any of you know him personally then? Perhaps his accent intimidated you? I most definitely would have preferred one of the other 2 Nightline co-anchors to have been ousted, rather than Martin Bashir!

Posted by: wotisup | July 24, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Why oh why don't you report on the avalanche of mail MSNBC is getting against this business move? Doesn't anybody has decency in America anymore?
Which could possibly be the values of the people behind this?
Have any of this honchos stop to think how this man cost double digits MILLIONS of dollars to California by indirectly accusing an innocent man, prompted a shaky and unfounded trial, that only proved how IGNORANT some law officials are, how vindictive and nonsensical?
How in the world are we to disrespect the american public by hiring such an deceiveful, tabloid trash sensationalistic "journalist"?
There was a time when this type of rotten professional was banned from circles of serious people who had truth, decency and self respect as core values.
This is a shame.
Glad 7 out of 10 comments state will NOT be a part of this blatant, irresposible decision.
That's exactly what we should do. Reject this sort of business until it is FINISHED!!!

Posted by: ellendrodriguez | July 25, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Come on...Anyone who saw the entire interview with M. Jackson knows what a con Bashir. He is so deceitful that he should be barred from journalism forever.

Honestly, surprised Micheal or his family didn't have this guy done in.

This will not be a credit to MSNBC or Dateline, I can assure you.

Another reason, I am turning away form them.

Posted by: cfbny | July 26, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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