Vargas/Woodruff: Weekend Of “Nonstop Negotiations” Led To Announcement

By Brian 

The New York Times explains how Woodruff and Vargas became the next anchors of World News Tonight:

  “For David Westin, the last four days provided one more twist in a very long road toward the future of ABC News.

On Friday, Mr. Westin, the president of ABC News, firmed up the decision that his department, and much of the television news business, had been speculating about for months: who would follow the late Peter Jennings into the anchor chair of the ABC newscast “World News Tonight.”

Reflecting what had been a protracted, delicate juggling act of high-price news talent and egos, Mr. Westin first offered the job short term to Charles Gibson, 62, the well-established anchor of “Good Morning, America.” But Mr. Gibson rejected the offer last Thursday because it would have denied him the chance to lead ABC News through 2008 and into the next presidential election year.

That left Mr. Westin free to turn to the two much younger journalists, Bob Woodruff, 44, and Elizabeth Vargas, 43, whom he had planned to name, at the same time as the Gibson announcement, as Mr. Jennings’ ultimate heirs.

After a weekend that one participant described as “intense, nonstop negotiations,” in which new contracts for Mr. Woodruff and Ms. Vargas had to be worked out from scratch, Mr. Westin achieved his goal of putting new lead faces on the network’s news programming.

Here’s the must-read story…