ABC News Anchor Shuffle: Who, What, When, Where, And WhyTV 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 LisaDeMoraesColumnyears. 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 »