ABC News has announced new roles for three of their biggest journalists, Diane Sawyer, David Muir, and George Stephanopoulos. In the re-arrangement, Diane Sawyer will step down as anchor of ABC World News and David Muir, her frequent guest anchor and anchor of the weekend World News, will take her place. Diane Sawyer will instead focus on specials and interviews, which is similar to the role Barbara Walters had when she retired. However, Walters did say that she would come out out of retirement if she had the chance for an exclusive interview. Walters has an interview with the father of shooter Elliot Rogers coming up. This means that ABC News has two personalities focusing on exclusive interviews, although one is doing it more as a side role. Beginning September 2, Muir will become the anchor and managing editor of ABC World News while continuing to host 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas. However, Muir will step down as anchor of the weekend editions of World News. ABC News has not announced his replacement yet. George Stephanopoulos is also getting a promotion. The anchor of This Week and host of Good Morning America has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News. In this role, Stephanopoulos will anchor coverage of breaking news and special events. Some have wondered where this leaves Muir, especially if there is breaking news during World News. There have been many reports throughout the years about Stephanopoulos’s role at ABC News. As Brian Stelter wrote in his book, Top of the Morning, Stephanopoulos openly complained to his friends about GMA’s focus on fluff stories. When Stephanopoulos was rumored to be joining GMA, there were reports he wanted to move the show towards more serious news. Stephanopoulos continues to anchor the Sunday morning talk show, This Week, and there are reports he will gradually move away from GMA. However, GMA has lost two of its main stars, Josh Elliot and Sam Champion, to the NBC family in the past year and ABC News does not want to tamper with the ratings success of GMA.
Read ABC News’s press release:
Diane Sawyer to Lead New ABC News Programming Tackling Big Issues and Extraordinary Interviews
George Stephanopoulos Promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News Handling Special Reports and Breaking News
David Muir Will Become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News Starting September 2
ABC News today announced new roles for anchors Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and David Muir. Sawyer will lead new programming tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews. Stephanopoulos, Anchor of Good Morning America and This Week, has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News, handling special reports and breaking news. Muir, Anchor of 20/20, will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News starting September 2.
“We have an extraordinary team of anchors who are gifted storytellers and uniquely skilled broadcasters,” said James Goldston, president, ABC News. “For years to come, they will inspire us all to do our best work and set a high bar for excellence to inform, empower and inspire our viewers.”
After leading World News, the network’s flagship broadcast, for nearly five years and to a number one finish in the May sweep, Sawyer has decided to step aside from anchoring a daily program to concentrate full time on new programming. She will lead a team to create and commission original reporting and major interviews for all ABC News programs and platforms. Sawyer will anchor and produce television specials and continue to interview the most extraordinary people in the world.
“For many years to come Diane will be a driving force at ABC News with her exceptional storytelling genius,” he added. “She is one of the giants of modern journalism. Her curiosity, passion and energy are unmatched, and I can’t wait to see where she’ll lead us next.”
“After wonderful years at “World News” I decided it is time to move to a new full time role at ABC News. I’ll be joined by an incredible team of journalists dedicated to enterprise reporting, innovative approaches to breaking news and new ways of thinking about big issues and events around the world,” Sawyer said. “I can’t wait to continue bringing more of my specials to prime time and appearing on all ABC News broadcasts, as well. And to my friends and colleagues George and David – congratulations. I look forward to exciting work together and great times ahead.”
World News won the May Sweep in Adults 25-54, the evening broadcast’s first sweeps victory in more than six years. Season to date, World News is up versus the same point last year in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54, delivering its most-watched season in five years and best news demo number in three years. World News is the only evening newscast to improve on its news demo performance from the previous season compared to NBC and CBS.
Stephanopoulos will add the duties of Chief Anchor of ABC News to his responsibilities. For the last four years he has helped lead Good Morning America to number one, and after returning to the program two years ago, has driven This Week to its best competitive position in a generation. In his new role Stephanopoulos will also lead the network’s coverage of special events and breaking news.
The best political journalist on television, Stephanopoulos will also lead ABC News’ election coverage starting with the mid-terms this fall, the 2016 presidential race and beyond.
“George skillfully navigates uncertain and unfolding situations. He is adept at balancing both complex global and public policy questions and deeply personal and emotional stories,” said Goldston. ”He brings to all our programs and live coverage his tremendous intellect, competitive drive and unwavering work ethic. The news division simply could not be in stronger hands with George in this new and vital role.”
“Getting the chance to do work you love — work that touches people’s lives every day — is one of life’s greatest privileges,” said Stephanopoulos. “Even luckier is when you get to do that work with the best in the business – Diane, David and our entire ABC News team. It’s an honor to be part of that team. I can’t wait to build on our success — and bring our viewers our best — for years to come.”
GMA stands as the No. 1 morning news program for the 2nd-straight year in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54. This Week is delivering its strongest performance in five years and won the May sweep in Adults 25-54, the first sweeps victory in the key news demo in nearly 21 years.
Starting September 2, Muir will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News.
For a decade Muir has been front and center on nearly every major news story for World News, first reporting for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Muir’s dispatches from around the world have been a staple for World News viewers. He was the first American journalist to report from Mogadishu, Somalia on the worst famine in a generation, coming under fire while reporting from the war-torn city. In 2013, Muir took viewers into Iran, getting rare access to the streets of Tehran. We will continue to see David report from all over the world, contributing to all programs and platforms of ABC News.
His Emmy-nominated “Made in America” series has become a hallmark of World News. He has filed more than 100 reports on U.S. companies creating jobs in America.
“David has made his reputation reporting from the ground on every big story of recent times, and we know that when big stories happen, wherever they happen, David will be there for us and for our audience,” said Goldston. “I am thrilled he is taking the helm at World News.”
“On this incredibly humbling day, I think of the 12-year-old boy with a dream of being a reporter and seeing the world. I never could have imagined seeing that world with Diane Sawyer,” said Muir. “On this day I thank her for not only setting the bar for the rest of us, but for being a trusted friend. I cannot wait to begin this new adventure with Diane and with George, whose political brain power and endless curiosity inspire me, and drive us all to be better every day.”
In 2013, Muir was named co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20, which closed out the 2013-2014 season with its highest ratings in five years. He will continue to co-anchor the program with Elizabeth Vargas.
Muir will no longer anchor World News Saturday and Sunday, a job he has held since 2011.