I've asked this site's contributors to just say a few words to thank someone or something in the sphere of pop culture, and you all are welcome to do the same in the comments as we do this throughout the week.
I suppose it would be appropriate to start off with Ted Koppel, who leaves the air Tuesday evening after twenty-six years of Nightline.
Now, mind you, I haven't actually watched the show in years. I just liked that it was out there, presumably doing Important Television, and that it was hosted by a man willing to taunt his network as he did in an NYT op-ed when the Letterman rumors were omnipresent:
I have one complaint -- and that is about the anonymous suggestion from one of our corporate executives, quoted in The Times, that ''Nightline'' has lost its relevance. Another unnamed executive implied that the program is no longer competitive or profitable -- both assertions are demonstrably untrue -- but relevance is a more subjective matter. I would argue that in these times, when homeland security is an ongoing concern, when another terrorist attack may, at any time, shatter our sense of normalcy, when American troops are engaged in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Yemen and Georgia, when the likelihood of military action against Iraq is growing -- when, in short, the regular and thoughtful analysis of national and foreign policy is more essential than ever -- it is, at best, inappropriate and, at worst, malicious to describe what my colleagues and I are doing as lacking relevance.
There are excellent business reasons for Disney to pursue the Letterman program. But when ''Nightline'' is gone from the ABC schedule, and should the occasion arrive that our work might again seem relevant to the anonymous executive, it will not then be possible to reconstitute what is so easily destroyed.
Indeed. And while there will be new anchors for the show come next week, they're not taking over Koppel's original show. As Peter Lassally had to explain to David Letterman in convincing him to reject NBC's late offer of taking over Leno's Tonight Show a year later, the show Koppel began simply doesn't exist anymore. Oh, sure, there's going to be a half-hour news show on ABC after the late local news (until the Next Big Talk Show Host becomes available, at least) . . . but it won't be Nightline.