Jeff Gralnick and Rick Kaplan, two legendary newsmen, were known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they worked together at ABC News in the 1980s. I am not entirely sure whose nickname was which, but I am pretty sure Gralnick was Butch and Kaplan was the Sundance Kid. In any event, Gralnick was the executive producer of ABC World News Tonight and Kaplan was senior producer.
Gralnick died yesterday at the age of 72. Kaplan announced yesterday he’s leaving as executive producer of the CBS Evening News. When I worked overseas for ABC, I never really got to know either one of them well. They were in New York. I usually was in the Middle East. Those who knew Gralnick better have posted some memorable comments and thoughts at http://on.fb.me/lvoBUL Both went on to work and lead programs at nearly all of the networks.
Gralnick eschewed a coat and tie in the newsroom. He almost always wore a Brooks Brothers bush jacket and blue jeans–the producers’ uniform back then. Kaplan liked sweater vests. Both were well over six-feet tall and literally towered over the ABC newsroom.
I remember how we would wait for telexes from Gralnick out in the field to see if he liked or disliked a story we did. The most memorable one for me was, “It ran.”
Wherever Gralnick and Kaplan have gone, they have been remembered. RIP, Jeff. Good luck, Rick.