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Pastimes : Hugh Down's Fan Club!

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To: Paul Berliner who wrote (4)7/14/1999 1:39:00 PM
From: Michael Olds   of 6
Yahoo! News Technology Headlines

Wednesday July 14 12:20 PM ET

U.S. TV Anchor Hugh Downs To Join Internet TV Firm
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Television personality Hugh Downs plans to join iNEXTV Corp., a newly formed Internet video network, to develop online television shows, making him the latest high-profile TV newsman to embrace the new medium.

Downs' move follows his recently announced plans to retire as co-anchor of ABC News' prime-time weekly television newsmagazine ''20/20,'' a move that caps a career in television journalism spanning 50 years, the company said late Tuesday.

In his previous jobs, Downs, 78, has hosted some of America's most popular TV programs, throughout virtually the medium's entire history.

Edward Bramson, chief executive of iNEXTV, said Tuesday Downs will be involved in iNEXTV's Executive Branch TV (, which will provide coverage of U.S. executive agency meetings and activities, including White House events, via the Internet -- akin to the C-SPAN channel's coverage of U.S. congressional and other political events on cable TV.

Downs also may contribute to the Air & Space channel on the company's ''TV on the Web'' site (, said Bramson, who is also chairman of Ampex, the media recording technology company, and parent of iNEXTV.

Downs ''had been looking for things to do on the Internet,'' Bramson said in a phone interview. ''There are a couple of new channels that we're starting up that he's going to help us with,'' he said.

Downs was not available for comment.

Television programming via the Internet remains in its infancy, but is gaining acceptance amid the growing convergence of computers and television, and as high-speed Internet connections become more widespread.

Last month, Lou Dobbs, president of CNNfn financial news and one of the best-known TV journalists in the United States, announced plans to leave his executive and on-camera posts at CNN to start his own Web site devoted to space issues.

His site is located at

Downs will begin working with iNEXTV immediately after his contract with ABC expires in October, Bramson said. He declined to disclose how Downs would be compensated, only that the TV legend was an ''equity participant'' in the project.

iNEXTV plans to produce Internet video programming in New York, Los Angeles, Reston, Va., Washington, D.C. and Munich, but that the flexibility of the Internet should allow Downs to work from almost anywhere.

Downs serves as chairman of the board of governors of the National Space Society and has served as a member of the NASA Advisory Council
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