February 3, 1996 in Features

Edwin Newman One Wild And Crazy Guy

Los Angeles Times
 

There was Edwin Newman, for nearly 35 years at NBC News, reporting live on assassinations and elections and moderating two presidential debates.

Here is Edwin Newman, anchoring “Weekly World News,” introducing a story about an island tribe that worships Don King.

USA cable’s new series based on the wild supermarket tabloid might not seem the proper place for a veteran broadcaster, best-selling author and a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. It airs Saturdays at 10:30 p.m.

But the fact is, Newman is really a wild and crazy guy. He’s having a grand time on “Weekly World News” reporting earnestly such stories as a physician who literally heals himself, a day-care center run by the Hells Angels and a woman who says she is impregnated with Bigfoot’s baby.

“If one gets a reputation for being willing to do funny things, the invitations come in,” said the 77-year-old Newman, who retired from NBC in 1984. “Not very long ago, I was on ‘Murphy Brown.’ I have been on ‘Golden Girls,’ ‘Mr. Belvedere’ and ‘Wings.’ I have worked with Lily Tomlin and Patty Duke.”

“I think there is a kind of fun irony with Edwin Newman because he has such rich news credentials, journalistic credentials,” said Rod Perth, president of USA Networks Entertainment.

Newman has wondered if viewers will believe the stories presented are actually true. “For years now, I pass newsstands where the various tabloids are sold, I shake my head and wonder do people really believe these things or are they reading them for laughs? At the end of the program there’s a line saying it’s all fictitious, but whether people watch this kind of thing after the credits, I do not know. Some people have expressed the hope that putting on ‘Weekly World News’ as a spoof will perhaps reduce the appetite for the (other) tabloid shows.”

“I hope that the majority of our viewers are slightly more intelligent,” Perth said.


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