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Changes at ABC ‘Played Without Publicity’

ABC is in the midst of a game of musical anchor chairs. Diane Sawyer is moving into the “World News” anchor chair starting Dec. 21, George Stephanopoulos has all but been announced to join “Good Morning America” next Monday and GMA host Chris Cuomo is leaving and possibly headed to “20/20.”

The Chicago Tribune‘s Phil Rosenthal reports, “there has been no major marketing campaign to speak of, no blitz of media interviews by either Sawyer, who is scheduled to take over on Dec. 21, the day before her 64th birthday, or Gibson, 66.” That’s not completely true. As TVNewser reports, ABC’s marketing team put together a video promo of Sawyer’s ten years with “Good Morning America.”

However, why would ABC go light on marketing and PR? Perhaps they have learned from CBS, which went all-out marketing Katie Couric‘s move to the Evening News, only to see a big ratings jump followed by a sharp fall. Many view Brian William‘s succeeding Tom Brokaw‘s as anchor of NBC Nightly News desk as a textbook example on how to manage this kind of story. NBC announced the news a full year in advance of the move, in order to help squash rumors and speculation.

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