“If Elizabeth Had Been Wounded, I Think Bob Would Be In The Anchor Chair Solo”

By Brian 

> Update: 11:41pm: An anonymous ABC insider says: “Emily Rooney said it best on CNN this morning, ‘ABC staff are experiencing burnout.’ First we lost Peter, and now we almost lost Bob… In addition to working 12 hour days, we nor have a 3pm webcast, we seem to be crashing for everyday, which people really aren’t watching. Then the 6:30 standard evening news. And two more feeds after that. Longtime staff are getting burnt out. Producers, videotape editors, and graphics dept staff are overworked…When will get any better?”

On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, WGBH executive editor Emily Rooney said she believes ABC is unwilling to let Elizabeth Vargas anchor World News Tonight solo. Howard Kurtz picks up the conversation:

  KURTZ: Emily Rooney, since Bob Woodruff sadly will be out of action for some time, ABC News has now named its two biggest stars, Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer, to fill in with Elizabeth Vargas on “World News Tonight.” Why do you think they decided not to just have Elizabeth Vargas fly solo for a while?

ROONEY: Well, I hate to say it, but I think it’s because they don’t think she’s strong enough. I’m actually a fan of hers. I like her, I like her work, but I always have this kind of uneasy feeling that she doesn’t quite have the depth.

You know, the other night I was watching the State of the Union Address, and the minute she tossed to Charlie Gibson, I thought, well, they’ve brought the adult into the discussion. And I think there’s no question about it, if this had been a reverse situation and, I hate to say, if Elizabeth had been wounded, I think Bob would be in the anchor chair solo.

You don’t need two people to anchor 20 minutes of news. It’s patently ridiculous. And it’s also sort of the local news format which the networks had shied away from.