ABC News this morning announced that ABC “World News'” Diane Sawyer is set to step down from the anchor chair and is to be replaced by the program’s weekend anchor David Muir starting September 2.
“For many years to come Diane will be a driving force at ABC News with her exceptional storytelling genius,” wrote ABC News President James Goldston in a note to staff this morning. “She will create innovative television specials and events, and, of course, continue to conduct the biggest interviews with the most important and extraordinary people in the world. Starting this summer she will begin to develop these new stories, working closely with me, David Sloan, Almin Karamehmedovic, Jeanmarie Condon, Claire Weinraub and Michael Corn. And, of course, Ben will continue to be a part of this creative process as Diane’s long time editorial partner.”
Sawyer – who has anchored the program since 2009 – said in a network release, “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. 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.”
On Sawyer’s replacement Muir, Goldston added in the staff note, “For more than a decade, David has been front and center reporting on the biggest stories of our time, helping drive us forward with tireless dedication, hard work and good humor. From Katrina to Egypt’s Tahrir Square, from Fukushima to Newtown, David has carefully guided our viewers through tragedy and world events with his tough questions and trademark compassion. He was the first American journalist to report from Mogadishu, Somalia on the worst famine of a generation and recently took our viewers into Iran, getting rare access to the streets of Tehran.”
In his new role, Muir will no longer anchor “World News” on Saturdays and Sundays but will remain co-anchor of “20/20″ with Elizabeth Vargas.
In addition to the new roles for Sawyer and Muir, George Stephanopoulos, anchor of “Good Morning America” and “This Week,” has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News.
“In this position, George will be our lead anchor for major special events and breaking news at ABC, driving our live network coverage for the biggest stories,” wrote Goldston. “From the retirement of Pope Benedict to the manhunt for the Boston bomber, George skillfully navigates uncertain and unfolding situations while synthesizing the latest reporting for our viewers. George is adept at balancing both complex global and public policy questions and deeply personal stories in interviews with numerous luminaries from Vladimir Putin to Angelina Jolie.”
In his new role, Stephanopoulous will continue to anchor both “GMA” and “This Week.”