“Usually when you’re being honored by family and friends, people tend to get a little overemotional,” said Ted Koppel. “But in your case, Dan, it’s not so.”

The Dan in question was retired Cap Cities/ABC ceo Dan Burke, who was being honored with the Gold Medal Award from the International Radio and Television Society. The evening — as emcee Koppel’s remarks indicate — turned out to be a good natured roast by Burke’s former colleagues.

There was even a “Special Nightline Investigation” on why Burke retired — much of which teased the executive about Cap Cities’ reputation as a tightfisted company.

The segment featured Diane Sawyer, who used her multi-million-dollar contract renewal for numerous jokes; Peter Jennings, making a collect call to the White House; Al Gore, who claimed that “everything I learned about charisma I learned from Dan Burke,” and David Letterman, whose Top Ten reasons Burke retired included: “So he can watch Letterman and not feel guilty.”

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