ABC's Arledge will take leave of absence

April 21, 1992|By Dow Jones News Service

NEW YORK -- ABC News president Roone Arledge will begin an extended leave of absence tomorrow to undergo treatment for prostate cancer.

An ABC News official said Mr. Arledge, 60, is expected to fully recover. The prostate cancer was caught early as doctors were examining Mr. Arledge for an unrelated matter.

Mr. Arledge will have surgery tomorrow and is expected to remain hospitalized for eight to 10 days. He will then spend an unspecified recovery period at his Manhattan home.

The absence of the top executive is expected to delay his latest project, a third prime-time weekly magazine show to complement "20/20" and "Prime Time Live." The show is expected to air on Sundays at 7 p.m., opposite CBS' "60 Minutes," the No. 1 rated show on network television. But the ABC News official said Mr. Arledge's presence was heavily required for the show's launch.

Mr. Arledge told his staff yesterday that Stephen A. Weiswasser, executive vice president, will handle all administrative duties and Richard C. Wald, senior vice president, will handle editorial matters.

Joanna Bistany, vice president and assistant to Mr. Arledge, will continue to be responsible for all broadcasts and talent.

It is unclear how Mr. Arledge's absence might affect the division's contract negotiations with Sam Donaldson, co-anchor of "Prime Time Live" and a panelist on "This Week," a Sunday public affairs show. Mr. Donaldson's contract expired last month, and insiders say ABC News is pushing him to take an unspecified pay cut.

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