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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

You're next Katie Couric

Ida Mae Astute/ABC
All hail the new King Charles

ABC Appoints Gibson as 'World News Tonight' Anchor

Published: May 23, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- ABC appointed Charles Gibson as the new anchor of its struggling ''World News Tonight'' broadcast on Tuesday, replacing Elizabeth Vargas.

Vargas, who is pregnant and goes on leave later this summer, will return in the fall to co-anchor the ''20/20'' newsmagazine, ABC said.

ABC's announcement did not specify a role for Bob Woodruff, Vargas' co-anchor on the evening news until he was seriously wounded in a roadside bombing in Iraq on Jan. 29. Woodruff is still recovering from serious head injuries and broken bones.

In a news release, Woodruff called Gibson a mentor and friend, and said: ''I look forward to contributing to his broadcast as soon as I am able.''

Gibson starts on Monday. He will continue on ''Good Morning America'' for June, and then leave that broadcast to concentrate solely on the evening news.

ABC did not immediately name a replacement for Gibson on ''Good Morning America.''

ABC News President David Westin's announcement came less than a week after ''World News Tonight'' fell to last place in the evening news ratings for the first time since 2001, behind NBC and the resurgent CBS. CBS has hired NBC's Katie Couric to become its evening news anchor.

Westin had appointed Vargas and Woodruff in November to replace the late Peter Jennings in ABC News' lead anchor role. He had approached Gibson then about doing the job for a short period of time before the younger anchors took over, but Gibson balked at the deadline.
Hmmm, sounds like a palace coup to me.

Gibson churned up much money for ABC on GMA, much money, so much that they didn't want to give him the job he always craved. Koppel retired, leaving a mess behind at Nightline, with crappy stories and three weak anchors. Which will soon be dealt with.

Vargas wasn't bad, but she never seemed to really fit the job. The whole arrangement was a vote of noconfidence in her anyway. A youngish Latina woman as your main anchor? That was a risk to the suits from day one, then she got preganant again. And of course, Bob Woodruff got his brains blown in, so this was always a leaky ship.

But faced with the clear rejection of Vargas as an anchor by the audience, they had to do something.

And if Vargas, who had been doing hard news for a decade, since she didn't get the GMA job, is either too pretty or too insubstantial for news viewers, what is going to happen to Couric?

Morning TV has an odd balance, of smart, but non-threatening women delivering the news, and cooking tips. Couric looks like your office manager, not your husband's next wife. But the question is do you want to see a soccer mom deliver the news? Vargas's demotion, and it is a demotion, is not a good omen for CBS.
The minute the numbers went south, the minute they go back to one of the princes. Gibson could have taken the job he's wanted his entire career earlier, but why? Let the chosen ones fail, then they would have to come to him. If I was Chris Bury, I'd start to feel that way

posted by Steve @ 11:02:00 AM

11:02:00 AM

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