Welcome back to In The Room, my biweekly private email on the inner workings of the American media industry. Tonight, an end-of-year survey of a TV news industry short on vision—and longing for leadership.
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Earlier this year, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim and his friend Eric Newman, a Hollywood writer and producer, sold a political thriller mini-series to Netflix. This wasn’t Oppenheim’s first foray in Hollywood. After an early career as a show producer across the various NBC news channels, Oppenheim had left 30 Rock in 2008 to pursue his ambitions as a screenwriter—co-writing a couple notable science fiction films before writing Jackie, the Camelot biopic that won him Best Screenplay at Venice.
But ever since 2015, when Oppenheim returned to NBC News, and certainly after his promotion to president two years later, his screenwriting career was placed on indefinite hiatus. The obligations of running a national news network were too demanding—especially given the various...