Tuesday, November 22, 2005

TV - Ted Koppel's final night
I was telling a group of friends the other night that there really is no right way to leave a great job like this. No matter how or when you go, it's either too early or too late. I thought for a while that there might be a happy middle ground; some occasion on which leaving would be exactly right. But when everyone is agreed that the time is just right, it's actually already too late.

In any event, too early or too late, tonight's the night.

We are returning to our old friend, Morrie Schwartz, who died of Lou Gehrig's disease, but who wanted the make the subject of his dying everyone's business. Morrie's theory was that birth and death are really the only universal experiences. Everyone, though, likes talking about birth; very few people are willing to talking about dying. I interviewed Morrie three times over a period of several months and those programs were among the most requested we have ever done. For tonight's program, I also interviewed Mitch Albom, the Detroit sportswriter who had been a student of Morrie. Mitch memorialized the conversations with his old professor in one of the most popular books of recent years: "Tuesdays With Morrie." It makes for a wonderful package, and my colleagues and I hope that you'll enjoy it.

At the end of the program I'll have a few thoughts on leaving. Actually, I have a ton of thoughts on the subject; but by tonight I'll have winnowed them down to a few.

It's been a joy and a privilege to occupy this chair for the past 26 years. I understand how many people grit their teeth on the way to work every morning. To have had more than 42 years now of almost always being able to go to work with a sense of excitement and anticipation makes me among the most fortunate of people.

Thank you for your criticism and your praise over the years. Most of all, thank you for your loyalty.

Ted Koppel
ABC News Washington Bureau

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