hours old news by now, but here’s the official press release from ABC:
CHARLES GIBSON TO RETIRE FROM “WORLD NEWS”
Diane Sawyer Will Replace “World News” Anchor in January
Charles Gibson, who has served as anchor of “World News” since May of 2006, announced this morning that he will step down from the post at the end of this year and retire from full-time employment at ABC News.
“It has not been an easy decision to make,” Gibson said in an e-mail to the “World News” staff. “This has been my professional home for almost 35 years. And I love this news department, and all who work in it, to the depths of my soul.”
ABC News President David Westin said that he and Gibson have been talking about the decision for several weeks and that Gibson “has persuaded me that this is both what he wants and what is best for him.”
“I respect his decision, just as I respect the enormous contribution he has made to ABC News through the years,” Westin said.
Westin also announced Sawyer’s move to “World News.”
“Diane Sawyer is the right person to succeed Charlie and build on what he has accomplished,” ABC News’ Westin said in a statement. “She has an outstanding and varied career in television journalism, beginning with her role as a State Department correspondent and continuing at 60 Minutes, Primetime Live, and most recently Good Morning America.”
Westin noted that Gibson came to lead “World News” “after a difficult and turbulent time” following the death of anchor Peter Jennings and then the injury of “World News” co-anchor Bob Woodruff by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq.
With Sawyer’s new role, two of the three major network’s evening news broadcasts will now be anchored by females, a first in television history.
“There is no one like Charlie Gibson and it is an enormous honor to be asked to join the terrific broadcast he and the great team of journalists have built at ‘World News,'” Sawyer said today.
“Until then, I’ll be getting up early and spending mornings, as always, counting myself so lucky to be with Robin, Chris and Sam and the incredibly smart, talented and dedicated team of ‘Good Morning America.'”
Charles Gibson Steps Down from “World News”
Gibson, who previously co-hosted “Good Morning America” along with Sawyer, had originally planned to step down in 2007.
“But with Peter’s illness, Bob’s injuries, and Elizabeth [Vargas’s] pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006,” Gibson said in the e-mail to the ABC staff. He was asked to step in as anchor. “It was an honor to do so.”
Gibson said he would like to continue contributing occasionally to ABC News.
Before being named anchor of “World News,” Gibson was co-anchor of “Good Morning America.” He returned to “GMA” to re-launch the broadcast with Diane Sawyer on Jan. 18, 1999. He previously co-anchored the morning program from 1987 to 1998. In addition, he was also co-anchor of “Primetime Thursday,” now known as “Primetime,” from 1998 to 2004.
Sawyer has interviewed every president since President George H. W. Bush, including President Obama, and has handled an array of breaking news special events, including on Sept. 11 and, most recently, the 2008 presidential election.
Gibson’s Three Decades at ABC
During his 34 years at ABC News, Gibson has provided America with first-hand reports of some of the world’s biggest events.
In June 2001, at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, he anchored ABC’s live coverage of the Timothy McVeigh execution. He had reported from the scene when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed in April 1995, and continued to follow the story on multiple return visits to Oklahoma City.
On Sept. 11 of that year, he and Sawyer were anchoring “Good Morning America” and began the network’s award-winning coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Gibson anchored “GMA” from the Johnson Space Center in Houston following the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February 2003. He also won an Emmy for his hour-long “Primetime Thursday” investigation entitled “Columbia Final Mission.”
In 2005, Gibson traveled to Vatican City to report on the death of Pope John Paul II, anchoring the network’s coverage of the Pope’s funeral and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. ABC’s coverage was later recognized with a duPont-Columbia Award.
More recently, Gibson has reported extensively on the economic crisis, traveling throughout the U.S. to see first-hand how the recession is impacting different corners of the country.
Gibson has interviewed each of the last eight American presidents, and has also anchored many broadcasts from Republican and Democratic national conventions, as well as presidential inaugurations. In 2004 he was chosen to moderate the 90-minute town hall style debate between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry that was watched by 47 million people around the country.
Additionally, he has interviewed leaders from around the globe, including Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, the late Yasir Arafat and Nelson Mandela. He traveled to Israel in April 2002 to cover the crisis of suicide bombings, and reported from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in October 2000 to cover the Middle East peace
summit. Just hours after the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Gibson conducted a live interview with widow Leah Rabin in her home in Tel Aviv. In April 1999, he reported from Macedonia’s tent cities for refugees from Kosovo.
Diane Sawyer to Become “World News” Anchor
Sawyer joined ABC News in February 1989, as co-anchor of “Primetime.” In addition to that assignment, she was named co-anchor of “Good Morning America” in January 1999. She currently co-anchors the morning news program with Robin Roberts, where the duo made network television history as the first female co-anchor team. In August 2009 “GMA” was recognized with its third consecutive Emmy Award for outstanding morning program.
Sawyer was the first journalist to speak with then-Sen. Obama after his Iowa Caucus win. Sawyer also reported “Portrait of a President,” two hour-long specials that revealed new insight into candidates Obama and McCain and their families.
In 2006, Sawyer’s report on the crises in the foster care system was recognized with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. In January 2007, she delivered a moving and eye-opening report on poverty in America. “Waiting on the World to Change” gave viewers insight into the lives of families in Camden, N.J. — the poorest city in America. Sawyer and her team of producers also spent two years in the hills of Appalachia reporting the February 2009 special: “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains.”
In October 2009, Sawyer traveled to North Korea and brought viewers an unprecedented look inside that secretive country. The first American journalist to ever report live from North Korea, Sawyer also anchored “North Korea: Inside The Shadows” an hour-long primetime special that included interviews with key government and military officials and new information on what life is like for North Koreans.
In February 2007, Sawyer traveled to Syria and Iran, where she had conducted exclusive interviews with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In April 2008, Sawyer anchored “GMA” from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
Prior to joining ABC News, Sawyer spent nine years at CBS News. There she made history as the first female correspondent for “60 Minutes.” She also co-anchored the “CBS Morning News” and was CBS News’ State Department correspondent. While at CBS, Sawyer covered the 1980, 1984 and 1988 national political conventions as a floor and then podium correspondent.
Sawyer was part of the Nixon-Ford transition team from 1974 to 1975 and assisted former President Nixon in the writing of his memoirs in 1974 and 1975. She began her career in broadcasting in 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky, where she was a reporter for WLKY-TV until 1970.
A native of Glasgow, Ky., and raised in Louisville, Sawyer received a B.A. from Wellesley College and completed a semester of law school before embarking on a career in broadcasting.
Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures
ABC News Announces Diane Sawyer to anchor in January 2010
ABC News’ Charles Gibson, anchor of ‘World News’, sent the following email to staff announcing his intention to step down from the broadcast at the end of the year. ABC News President David Westin announced “Good Morning America” co-anchor Diane Sawyer will anchor ‘World News’ starting in January 2010.
I have always been taught you should never bury the lead _ so I write to tell you that I have told David Westin I want to step down as anchor of World News, and retire from full time employment at ABC News.
It has not been an easy decision to make. This has been my professional home for almost 35 years. And I love this news department, and all who work in it, to the depths of my soul.
I have received much comment, and quite a few emails and letters referring to the signoff Eddie Pinder convinced me to use – wishing that everyone has had a good day. But the proudest part for me has been saying “…for all of us at ABC News…”, since those words signify in my mind that I have been in a position to speak for an entire news department that I consider second to none.
It had been my intention to step down from my job at Good Morning America in 2007 but with Peter’s illness, Bob’s injuries, and Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006, and David asked me to step in as anchor. It was an honor to do so. The program is now operating at a very accelerated, but steady, cruising speed, and I think it is an opportune time for a transition _ both for the broadcast and for me. Life is dynamic; it is not static.
I have told David I would like to continue in some capacity contributing occasionally to ABC News. He has been receptive to the idea _ and we will be discussing what that role might be.
Most importantly, my heart is full of gratitude for those with whom I have had the privilege to work as a correspondent, as a host at Good Morning America, at Special Events, and now as anchor at World News.
I’ll be anchoring World News through December and will have a chance to thank many of you personally. In the meantime let’s get back to the news.
Diane Sawyer to Anchor “World News”
ABC News President David Westin sent the following email to ABC News staff announcing Charles Gibson’s retirement from ABC News and the broadcast he anchors. Westin also formally names “Good Morning America” co-anchor Diane Sawyer as the new anchor ‘World News’ starting in January 2010.
Today, Charlie Gibson announced to his colleagues at World News that he has decided to step down as anchor effective at the end of this year. I attach below Charlie’s full email.
I have asked Diane Sawyer to serve as the next anchor of World News, and she will assume that position in January.
Charlie and I have been talking about his decision for several weeks, and he has persuaded me that this is both what he wants and what is best for him. I respect his decision, just as I respect the enormous contribution he has made to ABC News through the years.
Most recently, he stepped in to lead World News after a difficult and turbulent time _ both for the broadcast and for ABC News over all. We suffered from the loss of Peter and then the severe injuries to Bob. Charlie came to the fore to keep us on the path of doing the first rate journalism that had distinguished World News for many years. We owe him much for the leadership he gave us when we needed it most.
Since then, Charlie has covered all the major events with the substance and grace that we all expect from him. Most importantly, he headed our coverage during a presidential election unlike any other. Now, having accomplished so much in so many different parts of ABC News, Charlie has decided it is time for him to step down. I have told him that he has an open door to continue to work with ABC News, but he’s asked for a bit of time before he comes back to us.
Diane Sawyer is the right person to succeed Charlie and build on what he has accomplished. She has an outstanding and varied career in television journalism, beginning with her role as a State Department correspondent and continuing at 60 Minutes, Primetime Live, and Good Morning America.
She has interviewed every President since President George H. W. Bush up to and including President Obama. She has handled an array of breaking news special events, including on 9/11 and, most recently, the presidential election. She has done distinguished documentaries on topics as varied as North Korea, the plight of women in Afghanistan and in prisons here at home, and poverty in Camden, New Jersey, and in Appalachia.
We are fortunate to have a journalist of Diane’s proven ability and passion to step into the important position of anchor for World News. She will continue with her documentaries in her new role.
Diane’s presence will certainly be missed on Good Morning America. But we are fortunate that both Charlie and Diane will remain with their current broadcasts for the next four months; we will be making further announcements well before any changes are made.
Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures