After five years, Diane Sawyer’s time as the head anchor of ABC’s World News will be over. The 68 year-old Sawyer was one of three anchors who were reassigned new roles by the popular broadcasting station. Today, ABC officially announced that Sawyer will be stepping down from the anchor desk at ABC World News and moved into another pivotal role. Sawyer is one of the premier faces in the global news industry. However, the move will not see her fade into to the shadows of the network.
According to ABC, she will be “stepping down” in order to help the company with “new programming.” Sawyer should be at ease with her new duties as she will continue “tackling big issues,” and conducting “extraordinary interviews.” The new role will also be a full-time commitment, according to Sawyer. While the official announcement of her duties were made public by James Goldston, ABC’s President. According to reports, Sawyer’s new assignment was voluntary and in no way viewed as a demotion or coerced.
Sawyer has been working for ABC since 1989. The television journalist began her career as a White House press aide under the Richard Nixon regime, working closely with the President. Rising up the news ranks, Sawyer came to prominence in her role as the first female correspondent on the CBS news show, 60 Minutes. Sawyer’s journalistic style combined with the investigative premise of the show played out like a live “newsmagazine” on national broadcast television. In her five years on the show, it regularly ranked near the top in viewership, according to Nielsen ratings.
Shortly after leaving CBS, Sawyer served as co-anchor of ABC’s Primetime Live. Later, Sawyer shared the spotlight with fellow broadcast journalist, Barbara Walters. Walters and Sawyer are viewed by many as pioneers in the world of television journalism for women. The two both served as co-anchors of the popular Good Morning America show during different time periods. Walters stepped down earlier this year from the network for retirement, but Sawyer will continue to host World News for ABC until August 2014.
David Muir, a “rising star anchor,” will replace Sawyer as the nighttime newscaster. Muir already serves as an alternate for Sawyer. At 40 years old, it appears the network is now using Muir as the face of evening news program to maintain its ratings battle vs. NBC news as the topped rated news network. Having “topped” NBC’s ratings of The Today Show, Meet The Press, as well as NBC Nightly News last week, ABC would reportedly like to decrease the large gap NBC holds between the 25-54 year old viewer demographic. Muir is already the weekend anchor and will maintain hosting duties of 20/20.
George Stephanopoulos will now become the lead anchor for all breaking news coverage. Stephanopoulos currently serves as the co-host of Good Morning America and the talk show host of This Week. Sawyer’s step down from ABC World News appears to be part of an elaborate plan to increase ratings. Over the years, ratings in evening news have steadily declined with the rise of internet technology. Sawyer will continue to hold the position of news anchor, but her exceptional story telling genius will be put to different use.
by Brandon Wright
New York Times