ABC has announced that “Nightline” anchor Dan Abrams will be stepping down from that role to be chief legal analyst at ABC News, and to return his attention to his company, Abrams Media. “Dan has decided to step back from his full-time role as Nightline anchor after tonight, but I’m very happy to report that he will bring us his brilliant insights as chief legal analyst for ABC News for years to come,” said ABC News president James Goldston in an email to the news division Thursday morning.
Goldston also announced ABC chief national correspondent Byron Pitts will join “Nightline” as co-anchor. “Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear,” said Goldston.
Read the full memo, after the jump:
I want to share big news for two of our key players, Dan Abrams and Byron Pitts.
Earlier this year Dan came to talk to me about taking on a new role at ABC News and returning to his true passion – running the websites and company he founded, Abrams Media.
Dan has decided to step back from his full-time role as Nightline anchor after tonight, but I’m very happy to report that he will bring us his brilliant insights as chief legal analyst for ABC News for years to come. From Trayvon Martin and Bill Cosby to Ferguson and Staten Island, we count on him to provide legal context and scrutiny to important stories that capture national attention.
As co-anchor of Nightline Dan has showcased some of our best storytelling and been a crucial part of the Nightline team that has taken us to #1 in late night. On a personal level, I wish Dan great success expanding Abrams Media beyond the impressive milestones they have already achieved. I’m thrilled that Dan has committed to continue to appear on all our programs and platforms for many more years.
I’m delighted to announce that Byron Pitts will join Nightline as co-anchor. Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear.
Last week for our “Race. Justice. In America” series, Byron delivered compelling reports told with incredible compassion and his singularly distinctive voice. He reported on the distrust between the public and the police in his hometown of Baltimore, and he delved deeply into how fathers and sons talk about race.
Our chief national correspondent since 2013, Byron has been committed to finding stories and voices rarely heard on the national stage. He profiled an American lawyer – inspired by Nelson Mandela – helping hundreds of South African orphans go to school; got a closer look at New Orleans’ comeback as the Hollywood of the South; and memorably talked to the self-described pope of Satanism preaching in the heart of the Bible Belt.
I couldn’t be happier we’ll now see even more of his outstanding work on Nightline and all our platforms.
Byron joins the Nightline team in its strongest position yet in its new time period; in November they won the third consecutive sweep in Total Viewers. Turning in their best results ever at 12:30 A.M., they showed us once again that great storytelling leads to great results. With Roxanna, Dan Harris, Juju and Byron leading the way, I know there are even more great days ahead.
Please join me in congratulating Dan and Byron on their new roles.