Six Months In, Diane Sawyer’s ‘World News’

By Chris Ariens Comment

Sawyer_6.28.jpgWaPo’s Howard Kurtz profiles ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer, now six months in to her new job. Kurtz:

Despite her superstar status at ABC and CBS, Sawyer admits she feels the extra weight of the anchor mantle. In her eyes, she is carrying on the tradition of Peter Jennings and [Charlie] Gibson, of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather.

Kurtz touches on Sawyer’s role as the second female network evening news anchor as which “seems to be a non-issue.”

“The joy is that we can be individuals and different, and yes, being a woman is one of those things I am, for sure. And I hope it informs what I think about,” the Kentucky native says, twisting the ring on her finger as if the question is an unwelcome distraction.

As for the show’s performance, it remains second behind NBC Nightly News, which the show’s EP Jon Banner doesn’t like.

Since taking over the anchor chair, Sawyer has held on to nearly all of Gibson’s audience. She has averaged 7.6 million viewers, compared with 8.8 million for Brian Williams’s “NBC Nightly News” and 5.8 million for Couric’s “CBS Evening News.” “I am deeply frustrated by that,” Banner says, adding that promotion has been so meager that he meets people who still think Sawyer is co-hosting “Good Morning America.” “I more than anything want to get back into first place. It’s something she deserves.” In the past month, Sawyer has reduced NBC’s lead to 710,000 viewers.

• Earlier on TVNewser: Video: Diane Sawyer on the “great honor” of hosting the Peabody Awards