It’s final. We won’t see Arnab on Times Now wef next month

08 Nov,2016

The Amul topical ad released last week on Arnab Goswami going off Times Now


By A Correspondent


For almost a week, Times Network, the television broadcast arm of Bennett Coleman & Company Limited (better known as The Times of India group) chose to stay mum on the resignation of its editor-in-chief and president-news Arnab Goswami. Given that he’s larger than life, and decidedly the most influential face on news television – across languages, India indeed wanted to know about what was up at the Times Now HQ.


But that’s a question only Goswami is allowed to ask. No one –  never ever – can ask this of the channel that puts people in the dock and if they choose not to accept the invite to be on the nightly inquisition, an empty chair is put on camera. Get humiliated if you are on air, and face the same barrage of insults even if you choose to stay away.


All that was fine when Arnab Goswami when the channel grew into its own in early 2008. He had started asking the tough questions then, and the November 26 terror siege ensured that he never looked back. He marshaled his team from the newsroom, and did it so very well. News was not just about reportage, he proved. It was also about studio discussions and debates. Make a spectacle of the 9pm news, if you want to fight the viewership pull of general entertainment channels.


While Times Now is where Goswami concentrated his energies, he has also been incharge of ET Now and Magicbricks Now. According to a communiqué, he will stay on with Times Network till the latter half of this month (Nov 2016) and will continue anchoring the flagship show Newshour till then.


The parting appears to be amicable.


Sample this: M K Anand, MD & CEO, Times Network: “Times Network cherishes the decade long association it had with Arnab. We are sure he will do well in his next endeavor and our good wishes are with him.”


Arnab Goswami: “It’s been an exciting ride at Times Network. We have changed the way news is done and I have worked with fantastic professionals in this journey. To these professionals, I dedicate the success of the last decade as I look forward now to the future”


But not everyone is sure. Senior journalist and MxMIndia columnist Ranjona Banerji writes on MxMIndia today: There is bombastic power on camera and there is velvet-glove-iron-fist power off camera.


Could there have been differences between Goswami and Vineet Jain, Managing Director of BCCL that led to the star editor’s exit? Even if he wasn’t asked to go, did the climate get as difficult to breathe in as Delhi is today?


We won’t know the real reason in a hurry. But, the question that’s now being asked by many is: Where will Arnab go? Who are his mystery backers? Will he (and his new home base) be able to gain the same ratings as Times Now?


And then: will Times Now be able to retain supremacy sans Arnab Goswami? Will it pull in a Rajdeep Sardesai or Barkha Dutt to take charge of its primetime or will it, like CNN-IBN has done with some success, put up lesser knowns on air and grow them. After all, Arnab Goswami wasn’t among the Top 3 English general news anchors until a decade back. That slot was occupied by Rajdeep, Barkha and Prannoy Roy. Arnab belonged to the next line with Vikram Chandra and Sonia Singh Verma.


What will also be important to see is whether Times Now continues with the same brand of news presentation. Ask the tough questions, take sides and almost always damn all those who don’t agree with its views.


Arnab Goswami will be off air from some time in the latter half of this month. Time will tell what happens next. For now, he will continue to be on Times Now.


Clearly, the confirmation of the resignation, has left us with more questions than answers.


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