Vargas/Woodruff: “We Really Want To Travel Much More,” EP Jon Banner Says

By Brian 

ABC’s decision to place two anchors at the helm of World News Tonight will enable the broadcast to get on the road more often, executive producer Jon Banner says.

“We’re having two anchors, not just because we have the three broadcasts a day and the webcast, but also because we really want to travel much more,” Banner tells TVNewser.

Elizabeth Vargas (left, in Jerusalem) and Bob Woodruff (above right, in Kabul) may take turns racking up frequent flyer miles. “The expectation is that one of them will be on the road a lot, alternating,” Banner says. When they are both in New York, they’ll both be on the broadcast, he added. But “the goal is to have one or the other on the road quite often.”

In the event of major breaking news, one of the anchors could anchor special coverage while the other could fly to the scene and be in position by 6:30, Banner said hypothetically.

“It gives us much more flexibility,” he said. It will allow the network to deploy “not only to breaking stories, but stories that deserve significant attention that we wouldn’t normally travel to, because we were worried about leaving the chair and having something else happen.”

Travel plans are one of the reasons why the new WNT will require two anchors.

“With the things we want to do with the west coast, the Internet programming, the traveling, I don’t believe one person could do all this,” he says.

Vargas and Woodruff will officially take over on January 3. Banner says viewers can expect some aesthetic changes to graphics and sets.

“I think we’ll be making some changes going forward so that both Bob and Elizabeth feel that it is there’s, and that they’re not sitting in for someone,” he says. “But wholesale changes won’t be introduced on January 3. “I don’t think we need to do that,” he says.

Perhaps most importantly, the editorial content of the broadcast will not change, Banner said. World News Tonight will continue to live up to its name: When asked if the broadcast will include as much international news as it did under Jennings, Banner said yes. Vargas is heading to Iraq next week for the upcoming elections.