ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer told World News viewers tonight that she is taking a new role at the division at the end of the summer, then welcomed incoming World News anchor David Muir to the set. “What a humbling day this has been for me,” Muir said, then began to reminisce about his childhood dream of being a reporter alongside Sawyer. “There have been so many stories … Bin Laden captured and killed, collecting our thoughts in Joplin,” he remembered fondly, reiterating that she is “the captain here.” He added, “You and I have so much planned.”
TV news industry navel lint gazing broke out today as ABC News announced that Diane Sawyer was stepping down as anchor of its evening newscast. Some highlights:
1) Diane Sawyer likes to go out on top. ABC World News won the May sweep in the news demo – the newscast’s first sweep demo win in more than six years. Last time ABC’s newscast won a sweep was February of ’08, with Sawyer’s predecessor, Charles Gibson. Sawyer took over the show in December of ’09. “Look at Diane’s career – she always likes to go out on top,” said one industry observer. “She won the May book, why not go out on top – that’s very typical of her,” said another.
2) ABC News is trying to split the baby. Giving to David Muir the World News chair, while naming Chief Anchor title and giving him Sawyer’s chair during breaking news events and specials (presidential election coverage, etc.) had navel lint gazers trying to figure out “who won.” Some say Stephanopoulos got “passed over,” but others dismiss that as old school, noting Stephanopoulos co-anchors the news division’s morning show, which is more important these days. (Matt Lauer, the reigning king of morning infotainment TV recently re-signed at NBC’s Today for more than $20 million a year, which eclipses the reported $12 mil a year Sawyer has been making). George Stephanopoulos to the new … Read More »
This morning, as ABC News announced Diane Sawyer was stepping down from her anchor gig — David Muir takes the chair during the evening news, but George Stephanopoulos gets the throne for all breaking news broadcasts and specials as ABC News’s Chief Anchor — the three tweeted out their spins on the situation. Extra points if you guessed David Muir is having an incredibly humbling day.
Diane Sawyer will lead “new programming,” the network said, “tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews.” George Stephanopoulos, who anchors Good Morning America and This Week, will add the title Chief Anchor of ABC News — he will be the chief anchor during all special reports and breaking news. David Muir, who has anchored newsmag 20/20 since 2013 as well as the weekend newscast, will become anchor and managing editor of World News starting September 2.
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NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams turned around the demo gap week-to-week to top ABC World News With Diane Sawyer in all key categories last week. Nightly logged 8.249 million viewers – 647,000 more than ABC (7.602 million) and 1.98 million more than CBS Evening News (6.281 million). In the news demo, Nightly averaged 1.970 million viewers – 38,000 ahead of ABC (1.932 million) and 467,000 ahead of CBS (1.503 million). Season to date, Nightly noted it’s posting its largest total-viewer advantage over ABC since the 2009-10 TV season. (ABC notes its newscast has cut its year-to-year demo margin with NBC by 88%, from 32,000 to 38,000). The NBC newscast has held the top spot in total viewers for 241 consecutive weeks, and in the younger adults 18-49 demo for 298 consecutive weeks.