Eyeing big gets, Fusion bulks up booking

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Jorge Ramos. ((AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Alex Weprin

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One of the most underappreciated roles in TV news organizations is that of the booker. Bookers are responsible for securing both big and small guests, experts, celebrities and civilians.

Fusion, the millennial-targeting cable news channel from ABC News and Univision, in an effort to secure more big-name guests, is adding some heavy hitters to its booking staff, including one of Barbara Walters' veteran bookers, and a former "Tonight Show" co-producer.

The new hires are Andrea Amiel, who will be senior editorial producer, based in New York. Amiel, who booked guests such as Hillary Clinton and Miley Cyrus for Walters, will also serve as a liaison between Fusion and ABC News. In between two stints at ABC News, Amiel worked for nine years at CNN from 2002-2011, where she served as senior producer for "American Morning" and "Nancy Grace."

"In addition to managing the flow of information with ABC News, we plan to take full advantage of Andrea’s years of high-level experience, so that we can decide not only how to get the bookings we want but what kind of bookings we should want in the first place," Fusion's chief programming officer ​​Billy Kimball wrote in a note to staff. ​

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In addition, Fusion has hired former "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" co-producer Tracie Fiss to serve as a consultant, based in Los Angeles. Fiss worked at the "Tonight Show" for 20 years, and was responsible for booking many of the show's big celebrity interviews. She is being tasked with helping Fusion develop and maintain relationships in the Hollywood community.

Fusion also hired Rebecca Dorfman as director of planning, based in Miami. Dorfman will be responsible for finding guests to appear across Fusion's programming. She previously worked for ShadowPR, Fox News and CNN.

Fusion's programs include "Fusion Live," "AM Tonight" and "America with Jorge Ramos." Its focus on younger viewers means that the guests that appear will often be different than those that appear on other cable news channels, with their older-skewing audiences. While some guests have universal appeal, like Hollywood stars, for example, they represent a small, albeit important, portion of the guests that appear on a daily basis. Adding Fiss and Amiel helps boost the "A-list" booking ability, while Dorfman may be able to tap into guests that are more relevant to the Fusion audience than those that regularly appear on other channels.