Andrew Lack (executive)
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Andrew Lack Executive

Andrew Lack
Andrew Lack.jpg
Born (1947-05-16) 16 May 1947 (age 72)[1]
Alma materBoston University[2]
OccupationChairman of NBC News and MSNBC
Pamela Blafer Lack Goldman (divorced)
Betsy Kenny Lack
Children3

Andrew "Andy" Lack (born May 16, 1947) is the chairman of NBC News and MSNBC.[3][4]

Prior to NBC, Lack held a series of media executive positions, including as the chairman and CEO of Bloomberg Media Group; chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment; and president and chief operating officer of NBC Universal.[5]

He began his career as a journalist and then producer at CBS, winning 10 Emmy Awards[2] and two Peabody Awards[6] as a television producer.

Early life

Lack was born in New York City to a Jewish family. He attended the Browning School, a private school in New York, studied at the Sorbonne, University of Paris and graduated from Boston University's College of Fine Arts in 1968.[2] After graduation, he appeared as an actor in numerous television commercials and an off-Broadway production.[2][7]

Career

After graduating he worked as a producer of TV commercials, joined CBS News in 1976, following the next year with 60 Minutes and from 1978 until 1985, produced CBS Reports. He also served as correspondent on The American-Israeli Connection in 1982. Lack worked with Bill Moyers during the early 80s, as producer of both Our Times With Bill Moyers (1983) and Crossroads (1984).[7]

CBS

In 1976, Lack was hired by 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt at CBS News as a producer for the personality-driven television show Who's Who. That led to a job as a producer for 60 Minutes.[2] Lack produced such segments as "Inside Afghanistan"[8] and "Kissinger and The Oil Embargo."[9] He wrote and directed the segment "The Real Malcolm X: An Intimate Portrait of the Man."[10][11]

He later became the executive producer for CBS Reports, where he stayed for seven years, followed by a four-year stint starting in 1985 as the executive producer of West 57th hosted by Meredith Vieira, a long-format news program.[2][12]West 57th was known for mixing new storytelling techniques and topics with the same journalistic standards as 60 Minutes.[13] During the course of the show he conducted an extramarital affair with one of his correspondents, Jane Wallace, who described him as "almost unrelenting" in his pursuit of her.[14][15][16] After the affair ended, she says Lack threatened her career and the network paid her for a non-disclosure agreement; a source close to Lack denied the allegations.[15][16]

His work as a CBS producer includes "The Boat People" (about Vietnamese refugees),[17] "Teddy" (about Ted Kennedy)[18] and "The Defense of the United States" (about the Cold War) with Walter Cronkite.[19]

NBC

Lack was hired as president of NBC News in 1993, in part to restore credibility to the news division, after it was discovered the news program Dateline had faked an explosion during a truck safety segment.[3]

By Lack's third year, NBC Nightly News with anchor Tom Brokaw became the number-one rated evening news program, beating World News Tonight with Peter Jennings on ABC News.[3] Lack also greatly expanded Dateline, from once weekly to multiple nights each week.[20]

After Bryant Gumbel left the Today show, Lack replaced him with Matt Lauer. Lack also moved Today into a new, $15 million street-side studio, known as Studio 1A.[21] With Lauer as anchor, Today became the highest-rated morning news show for the next 16 years.[3] The cable news network MSNBC was also created under Lack.[3]

In 2001, Lack left the news division to become president[20] and chief operating officer of NBC, the television network.[3][20]

Sony

Lack joined Sony Music Entertainment in 2003 as Chairman and CEO.[22] Amid sharply declining sales in the music industry, Lack cut the staff by 25% to about 6,000 people.[20]

In 2004, Lack led a merger with BMG. Lack became CEO of the new Sony BMG, a 50-50 venture with Germany's Bertelsmann that resulted in the second-largest music company in the world.[20]

At Sony BMG, he pushed the company further into video, including television programming, and had to contend with the erosion of sales because of music file-sharing services such as Napster.[20] In 2005, he signed Bruce Springsteen to a $110 million contract.[23]

In 2006 he became the chairman of Sony BMG.[24] He later created SonyBMG Films,[25] a division that produced numerous titles including Cadillac Records starring Beyonce.[26] In 2008 he left the company.[2]

Bloomberg

In 2008, Lack returned to broadcast journalism, joining Bloomberg as CEO of its Media Group,[3] running television, radio and digital properties, including 11 television channels internationally.[27]The New York Times reported that he cut losses in half and doubled revenue.[3] He became chairman of Bloomberg Media Group in 2013[28] and stayed with Bloomberg until 2014.[2]

NBC (2015-present)

Lack rejoined NBC News and MSNBC in 2015[29] in the aftermath of a crisis generated when NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams was suspended without pay for six months for misrepresenting events which occurred while he was covering the 2003 Iraq War.[30] NBC News also faced a decline in ratings for Today and poor ratings for MSNBC.[29]

Lack named Lester Holt as the new anchor of NBC Nightly News to replace Williams.[31] The show became a ratings success, coming in first for the full 2014-2015 season (four months of which were anchored by Williams).[32]

After Williams' suspension was over, Lack decided to bring him back as the breaking news anchor for MSNBC as part of a shift toward hard news in that network's daytime programming.[33] Lack announced closer collaboration between NBC News and MSNBC,[34] cancelled three opinion-based daytime MSNBC shows,[35][36] and gave Meet the Press host Chuck Todd a daily afternoon program called MTP Daily.[37] MSNBC ratings subsequently improved in the first quarter of 2016, with daytime viewership up by more than 100%.[38] Lack also unified the digital operations of NBC News and MSNBC under a new division head.[39]Today became the first-place morning news show, surpassing Good Morning America in total viewers as of March 31, 2016, following a six-month lead among the 25-54-year-olds.[40][41]

In January 2017, Lack announced the hiring of Megyn Kelly away from Fox News saying in a memo, "She's demonstrated tremendous skill and poise, and we're lucky to have her."[42] Kelly was reportedly being paid between $15 million and $20 million a year at NBC for both a Sunday evening show and the mid-morning Megyn Kelly Today, along with election coverage.[43] In late October 2018 Business Insider reported that Kelly would depart the network following controversial remarks on the nature of blackface.[44]

In 2019, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow reported that Lack downplayed a human resources complaint of rape against NBC anchor Matt Lauer in 2014. Lauer was not fired until late 2017. Farrow also reported that Lack had ordered Richard Greenberg to scuttle reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations because "It [was] an Andy decision." Farrow later published his work in The New Yorker.[45] Farrow also reported that NBC News hired a "Wikipedia whitewasher" who removed references to NBC's role in the Weinstein case from several popflock.com resource articles, including Lack's.[46]

Personal life

Lack married twice. In 1970, he married Pamela Ann Blafer in a Jewish ceremony at the Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.[47] Lack is married to[48] Betsy Kenny Lack,[49] head of global brand strategy for Snapchat,[50] with whom he has two sons.[51]

He was honored by the UJA-Federation of New York's Broadcast, Cable & Film Division on April 9, 2013 for his generous support.[52]

References

  1. ^ "Andrew Lack". Hollywood.com.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Jahnke, Art (Summer 2011). "News Without End". Bostonia. Retrieved 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Koblin, John (June 9, 2015). "Andrew Lack Returns to NBC News Amid Turmoil". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ Grove, Lloyd (December 21, 2015). "Can MSNBC Re-Center Itself? Andy Lack on Breaking News, 'Today,' and Brian Williams". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Andrew Lack". Bloomberg. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ "CBS' Lack named head of NBC News". Baltimore Sun. April 8, 1993. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Page Not Found - Hollywood.com". Hollywood.com.
  8. ^ Spragens, William (January 1, 1995). Electronic Magazines: Soft News Programs on Network Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 29. ISBN 0275941558. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ Lack, Andrew (January 22, 1978). "The Oil Embargo". 60 Minutes. CBS News.
  10. ^ 1992 CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: "Malcolm X: The Real Story", October 4, 2014, retrieved 2016
  11. ^ Weinstock, David (2008). Malcolm X, African American Revolutionary. McFarland. p. 211. ISBN 0786439343. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ HALL, JANE (April 13, 1993). "NBC Not for Sale, GE Chair Tells News Staff Employees". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (March 6, 2015). "Andrew Lack takes command of NBC's troubled news operation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ Cartwright, Lachlan; Tani, Maxwell (September 21, 2018). "EXCLUSIVE: Accused Sexual Harassers Thrived Under NBC News Chief Andy Lack". Retrieved 2019 – via www.thedailybeast.com.
  15. ^ a b Haylock, Zoe (October 11, 2019). "NBC News Chief Andy Lack Allegedly Preyed on Female Employees". www.vulture.com. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ a b "'Unrelenting': News boss rocked by sex claims". NewsComAu. October 9, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ Fisher, Bob (October 1979). ""The Boat People" as Filmed for CBS". American Cinematographor. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Shales, Tom (November 22, 1979). "Teddy's Torment: A TV Soap Opera". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ O'Connor, John (June 14, 1981). "TV View; A FIVE- PART EXAMINATION OF U.S. DEFENSES". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Lieberman, David (June 13, 2005). "Lack is determined to be more than a music man". USA Today. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Shishter, Gail (June 20, 1994). "'Today's' New Home Nbc's Dawn Patrol Unveils Its "Window On The World" Studio Today. Now, Rockefeller Plaza And 49th Street - And The People On Them - Are Part Of The Show". Philly.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ Ordonez, Jenniefr (January 1, 2013). "Sony Taps NBC's President To Head Sickly Music Unit". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2015.
  23. ^ "The Peripatetic News Career of Andrew Lack". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "Sony BMG's chairman, CEO Switch Jobs". NBC News. February 10, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Andrew Lack, CEO Multimedia Group, Bloomberg LP". PaleyCenter.org. The Paley Center For Media. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (November 11, 2008). "Beyonce Belts It Out On 'Cadillac' Soundtrack". Billboard. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ Mnookin, Seth. "Bloomberg Without Bloomberg". The Hive. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ Lieberman, David (July 29, 2013). "Justin Smith Named CEO Of Bloomberg Media As Andy Lack Becomes Chairman". Deadline. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ a b Wemple, Erok (March 6, 2015). "NBC hires Andy Lack as chairman of NBC News and MSNBC". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015.
  30. ^ Steel, Emily (February 10, 2015). "Brian Williams Suspended From NBC for 6 Months Without Pay". New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ Wemple, Erik (June 18, 2015). "It's Official: Brian Williams moves to MSNBC; Lester Holt to be permanent anchor of 'NBC Nightly News'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015.
  32. ^ Ariens, Chris (September 22, 2015). "Nightly News No. 1 for 19 Seasons". TV Newser. Retrieved 2016.
  33. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (September 25, 2015). "NBC News Chief Andy Lack: "Solid Start" for Brian Williams on MSNBC". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015.
  34. ^ de Moraes, Lisa. "Andrew Lack Points MSNBC Back To Its Hard-News Roots With Troop-Rallying Meeting At 30 Rock". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2015.
  35. ^ Byers, Dylan (July 30, 2015). "MSNBC cancels 3 shows amid transition". Politico. Retrieved 2015.
  36. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (July 30, 2015). "MSNBC cancels three daytime shows, adds Chuck Todd". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2015.
  37. ^ Steinberg, Brian (September 17, 2015). "MSNBC's Re-Do Will Make it Look More Like NBC News Channel". Variety. Retrieved 2015.
  38. ^ "MSNBC's year of standing up straight". POLITICO Media. Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ Calderone, Michael (November 3, 2015). "NBC, MSNBC Shake Up Digital Operations". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015.
  40. ^ Steinberg, Brian (March 31, 2016). "Morning-Show Wars Take a Twist as 'Today' Trumps 'GMA' in Total Viewers". Retrieved 2016.
  41. ^ "After 4 Years in Second Place, NBC's Today Show Retakes the Morning Show Lead". Adweek. Retrieved 2016.
  42. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (January 3, 2017). "Popular anchor Megyn Kelly will leave Fox News after 12 years to join NBC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017.
  43. ^ "Megyn Kelly is now one of the highest-paid hosts on TV -- here's where her salary ranks". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017.
  44. ^ "Megyn Kelly is reportedly out at NBC after backlash over blackface comments". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018.
  45. ^ Aurthur, Kate and Ramin Setoodeh. "Ronan Farrow Book Alleges Matt Lauer Raped NBC News Colleague", Variety, October 8, 2019.
  46. ^ Farhi, Paul. "Ronan Farrow overcame spies and intimidation to break some of the biggest stories of the #MeToo era", The Washington Post, October 10, 2019.
  47. ^ "Pamela Ann Blafer Is Wed Here". The New York Times. January 11, 1970.
  48. ^ Atkinson, Claire (March 3, 2015). "Andy Lack and Brian Williams are likely package deal for NBC News". New York Post. Retrieved 2015.
  49. ^ Somaiya, Ravi (June 22, 2014). "Vanity Fair's Fall Conference Taps Power of the Rolodex". New York Times. Retrieved 2015.
  50. ^ Wagner, Kurt (May 25, 2016). "Snapchat has hired former Vanity Fair editor Betsy Lack to run global brand strategy". Recode. Retrieved 2016.
  51. ^ "BG Names Andy Lack CEO". BBG.gov. Broadcasting Board of Governors. Retrieved 2015.
  52. ^ UJA-Federation of New York: "Andrew Lack Honored at Broadcast Event" April 10, 2013

External links


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