Diane Sawyer’s ‘World News’ Debut: Early Reviews

By Chris Ariens 

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Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times:

Like NBC before it, ABC News favors more orderly, tame transitions. ABC is closer to a Scandinavian monarchy: if there is an internal scramble for the throne, nobody outside the realm really cares; once crowned, the royals try to play down their privilege. Ms. Sawyer’s was a studiously understated debut, but Monday’s program did provide some clues of how the tone and tempo of “World News” may change under her leadership.

David Bauder, The Associated Press:

ABC also plans to make use of Sawyer’s conversational style, which was on display during on-air Q-and-A’s with Jonathan Karl and George Stephanopoulos on health care reform, Lisa Stark on holiday travel and David Muir on holiday gift-giving. Sawyer used a question to Stark at the end of her report to briefly insert news about new rules about how long airlines can keep passengers on idling flights.

Tom Shales, The Washington Post:

Nothing in the program threatened in any way Sawyer’s reputation as a network wonder woman. She called upon her years of experience and her ineffable charm not only to report the news, but to put it over with panache. Eventually, maybe the camera will pull back a bit and give her, and viewers, some breathing room, trusting Sawyer to hold us captive without seeming to sit in our veritable laps.

David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun:

By network standards, ABC’s new “World News” with Diane Sawyer hit a pretty serious glitch about 10 minutes into its premiere Monday night. What should have been a fast, smooth flow of images surrounding new anchor Diane Sawyer seemed to derail at one point leaving viewers with a screen full of nothing but blue color instead of Sawyer’s talking head or video of the story she was trying to tease. The TelePrompter might also have frozen because Sawyer hesitated and then said the word “presidents” instead of “presents” for an upcoming piece on how the snow has or hasn’t affected gifts ordered online for pre-Christmas delivery. One couldn’t help but notice.

But you know what? Even though it was a somewhat jarring and unfortunate on premiere night, it doesn’t matter one-half of a little bit long term except in this regard: Sawyer kept her poise and came back after the break totally in control and on her game.

Dak Dillon, Newscast Studio:

The graphics are a big improvement and look very polished compared to some of ABC’s other news properties. In some ways, they also match a few other ABC brands. Is ABC moving towards a more unified brand like CBS News? The set was also updated with new blue graphics on the desk and walls. The RP now uses a blue loop instead of the previous yellow, red and blue gradient. The oddly placed 3D logo was also removed from the front of the anchor desk.