The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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June 11, 2013

'Lookout' a new outlet for 'Nightline'

NEW YORK — Yes, Cynthia McFadden, Bill Weir and Terry Moran of ABC’s “Nightline” are still at work at ABC News, and this summer, even noninsomniacs can see them.

The “Nightline” team is behind “The Lookout,” a prime-time newsmagazine that has gotten off to a slow start on Wednesday nights. “The Lookout” is both a chance for the journalists to try something new and an olive branch by network bosses for evicting “Nightline” from a time slot it held for three decades.

At the same time, “Nightline” is changing its focus to respond to a shift that has it starting at 12:37 a.m. now.

“The Lookout” emphasizes consumer issues with a mix of investigative and trend stories, striving for a hip look that breaks down walls with viewers. Weir went to Switzerland to hunt an infomercial king that the U.S. is seeking to pay back customers he misled about a weight-loss product. In a McFadden report, a house with a mold problem was rigged with hidden cameras and contractors were brought in to estimate repair costs.

Jeanmarie Condon, executive producer for both “Nightline” and “The Lookout,” used to work on consumer-oriented programming on the former newsmagazine “Primetime Live.” She believes it’s an underserved area in network news.

“Nobody doesn’t care about getting good value for their money — rich, poor, young and old,” she said.

Weir’s quarry, Kevin Trudeau, complained about “ambush journalism” when the correspondent stopped him on a Zurich street. That doesn’t mean Weir turned into Mike Wallace.

For the story, Weir interviewed one of Trudeau’s disgruntled customers while driving around in a Bentley that Trudeau once leased. He carried a life-size cardboard cutout of Trudeau. When the infomercial king pleaded poverty, Weir pointed to his ring and a gleaming sparkle was added. The correspondent calls Trudeau one of the most outrageous liars he’s ever seen, using a profane term that’s partly bleeped out.

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