The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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June 11, 2013

'Lookout' a new outlet for 'Nightline'

(Continued)

In an interview with a government official tracking the case, Weir offhandedly asks whether he has a gun, a question seemingly pulled from “The Daily Show” playbook.

Through most of the report, Weir has a bemused smile on his face.

“You can’t help but laugh at the audacity of his claims — both on infomercials and in court,” Weir said. “I told him on the street in Zurich that watching him sell and spin is like watching Ted Williams take batting practice. He is a unique case, but when appropriate, I’d like to use the same approach to go after bigger fish. Bringing the audience along on the chase helps liven up all these stories filled with boring documents.”

ABC is trying to tell the stories in a fresh way, McFadden said. Some graphics, like identifying people on the screen with written names and an arrow, seemed tailored to entice a younger audience to watch news programming that usually skews older.

“I don’t think we’re setting out to make the stories entertaining,” McFadden said. “You can get into a lot of trouble when you stop focusing on the journalism and start making it — quote — entertaining.”

The first airing of “The Lookout” attracted 4.1 million viewers, Nielsen said. That was lower than “60 Minutes,” two episodes of “Dateline NBC,” two episodes of “20/20,” even Brian Williams’ soon-to-exit “Rock Center.” CBS’ news series on the Brooklyn district attorney’s office competed directly and got a larger audience, but “The Lookout” did better among young people.

Unlike a series of prime-time specials that aired in the summer of 2011, the new series doesn’t carry the “Nightline” name. Condon said she thought it would be confusing to viewers.

“This isn’t ‘Nightline’ at 10 o’clock,” Condon said. “It’s not the same show with the same mix of stories that you would get at 12:30. It’s made by the same people and infused with the same sensibility, which we think is a good one.”

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