“World News Tonight” anchor David Muir kicked off a new era of the ABC News flagship broadcast with a personal message to viewers and to his predecessor Diane Sawyer. “It is an honor to begin this journey with you,” Muir said at the beginning of the show. Signing off, he thanked Sawyer, who sent midway through the show, adding, “Thank you friend, for everything.”
ABC News is the news gathering and program production division of the ABC TV network, a subsidiary of the Disney/ABC TV Group. ABC News programs include “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “Nightline,” “20/20,” and “This Week.” James Goldston is the president of ABC News. He succeeded Ben Sherwood who was elevated to the position of co-president of the Disney/ABC TV Group in March 2014.
The show also made other behind-the-scenes changes including the addition of another TV news veteran, Brian Balthazar (above right) as co-executive producer. Ashley S. Gorman will be the show’s director in the new season, and Kathleen Rajsp has been named senior supervising producer.
“I am so appreciative for the privilege to work on this iconic program and to have the chance to collaborate with incredible people like Whoopi and Rosie, who each bring immense talent and boundless passion to show,” Wolff said in a statement. “I will be forever grateful to Rachel Maddow for six amazing years together. As I begin this next chapter, I cannot fully express my profound gratitude to [Disney/ABC TV president] Ben Sherwood for making it all possible.”
Balthazar, an MSNBC alum like Wolff, joins from AOL where he was head of programming. He’s also been in the talk show trenches working many years at the “Today” show. He launched the fourth hour of “Today” with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, before going to work as a director of programming at HGTV.
Gorman has directed thousands of hours of live shows in the U.K. and the U.S. including: “Hell’s Kitchen,” “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…NOW!,” and “The Biggest Loser.”
Rajsp has worked on “Katie,” “Anderson” and “Dr. Phil,” among others.
The new season of “The View” begins Monday, Sept. 15.
Following Diane Sawyer‘s sign-off last night, the first promo to air teased what’s ahead on tonight’s show. Eagle-eyed viewers also noticed something different. As of today, ABC’s flagship broadcast is known as “World News Tonight.”
The broadcast had long been called “World News Tonight,” but ABC dropped the “Tonight” in 2006 during Charles Gibson‘s time as anchor. At the time, ABC News president David Westin explained, “Our flagship evening news broadcast has evolved well beyond thirty minutes on television. As we continue to expand ABC News and ‘World News’ into the 24-hour space created by the digital world, it makes sense for that reality to be reflected in the title of the broadcast.”
There’s no explanation this time for the change. The Twitter account for the show @abcworldnews already includes the new graphic and the Facebook link has been changed from World News to ABC World News Tonight. David Muir‘s name will be added to the title when he officially takes over as anchor next Tuesday. “World News Tonight” gets a new EP in the coming weeks as Almin Karamehmedovic moves over from “Nightline.”
In what may be the most subdued evening news transition since John Chancellor handed off “NBC Nightly News” to Tom Brokaw and Roger Mudd in 1982, Diane Sawyer signed off “World News” tonight. ABC hadn’t announced when Sawyer’s final show would air. That news came in a tweet from Sawyer this afternoon.
After a first block of news of the day, the second block included a David Muir “Made in America” report, a franchise which started under Sawyer’s watch. Muir said the ABC team has produced 154 reports and three updates since the series started three years ago. Sawyer then passed the torch her successor. “You know his command and commitment to bringing you the news, and let me just say to you personally right here, I cannot wait to see you in high gear. Let it begin.”
The third block took viewers behind the scenes, with a piece on those who put the show together: producers, writers, editors, correspondents, graphic designers, production crew and more. “Our teams across the country, our teams around the globe working under tight deadlines every single day,” said Sawyer, who then gave viewers a live peek into the control room. Here’s Sawyer’s final block goodbye: Read more
The Daily Beast‘s Lloyd Grove pored through journalist Sheila Weller’s upcoming TV news tell-all “The News Sorority.” And according to Grove, Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and Christiane Amanpour should expect some non-fiction hazing.
On Couric, Grove excerpts one of the juicier tidbits.
When Diane beat Katie on an interview with a 57-year-old woman who’d given birth to twins, Katie mused aloud, according to a person who heard the comment: “I wonder who she blew this time to get it.” In Weller’s narrative—which, as the subtitle indicates, aspires to document “the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News”–Couric comes off as brash, striving, self-absorbed, and occasionally insensitive to the realities faced by her less well-compensated coworkers, yet steeled by personal tragedy (the cancer-related deaths of her husband and her sister) and capable of big-hearted generosity.
Sawyer, who anchors her final “World News” tonight, is a Type-A personality trading charm for results.
Sawyer is a Machiavellian, often-inscrutable workaholic who uses her seductive charm and good looks to professional advantage and torments news producers with her relentless perfectionism and insecurity—an apparent consequence of a fraught relationship with her judgmental, formidable mother (who once sent the adult Sawyer into a self-flagellating death spiral, Weller writes, when she criticized how her TV star daughter had made her bed).
And “reigning queen of the warzone” Amanpour might need to check her ego Read more
Today, TVNewser begins a multi-week series where we’ll catch up with some tvnewsers of yesterday to learn about their lives now, and their perspectives on the industry. We start with former ABC newsman Ken Kashiwahara. Next week: former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista.
Ken Kashiwahara most certainly has used up some of his nine lives.
Take his harrowing escape from South Vietnam while on assignment for ABC News in 1975. “It was anarchy, chaos,” he tells TVNewser about the fall of Saigon.
Kashiwahara was trapped in a mob of humanity trying to flee the country via helicopter at the U.S. Embassy. He knew he had to scale the compound’s wall to safety.
“U.S. Marines were on top of the wall, pulling people up,” he recalls. Kashiwahara was one of the lucky ones literally lifted up and over.
The story is just one of many experienced during a quarter-century with the network. Another moment had Kashiwahara showered with shrapnel while covering the Lebanese Civil War.
“In the very beginning,” he says about his 25-year tenure with ABC, spent as a correspondent and as a Hong Kong and San Francisco bureau chief, “it was very exciting, the travel and not knowing where you were going to be from one day to the next.
“But after a while it got a little tiring. You could never plan your life.”
And so in 1998, at the age of 58, Kashiwahara retired.
It all began in 1969 when, after a stint in the Air Force, Kashiwahara got his big break in journalism in his native Hawaii, at Honolulu’s KHVH radio. The station’s news director “took a chance on me. I mean, I was terrible!”
Meredith Vieira was a special guest host on “Good Morning America” this morning, promoting her new talk show, and promising to participate in a gravy wrestling match with Lara Spencer. Vieira has also lined up a guest-hosting gig on the “Today” show Sept. 8, which is the same day her new talk show debuts.
Even though “The Meredith Vieira Show” is produced by NBCUNiversal, produced at 30 Rock, and will air on many NBC stations, the program is syndicated and has been picked up by major-market ABC affiliates including those in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Denver and Tampa, hence the visit this morning to ABC.
First on TVNewser: Big changes are coming to the producer ranks at ABC News.
TVNewser has learned “Good Morning America” Senior Executive Producer Tom Cibrowski (above, left) is being promoted to senior VP of programs, newsgathering and special events. Taking his place at the nation’s No. 1 morning show is current “World News” EP Michael Corn (above, center). Taking Corn’s job at “World News” is “Nightline” EP Almin Karamehmedovic. Karamehmedocvic, who has been with ABC News since 1989, arrives at “World News” as the program sees its first anchor change in nearly five years. David Muir takes over for Diane Sawyer next week.
Karamehmedocvic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has deep roots in international reporting for ABC. In 2001 he was one of the first journalists to gain access to Tora Bora, Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden was holed up, and in 2003 was a U.S. Army embed during the invasion of Iraq. A replacement at “Nightline” will come later, we hear.
Corn leaves “World News” as the show has consistently been winning in the A25-54 demographic, while still trailing “NBC Nightly News” among total viewers. He joins “GMA” as that broadcast enters its third year as the No. 1 morning show.
The moves will be announced by ABC News president James Goldston this morning.
> More: Goldston’s notes to staffers, after the jump…
As Diane Sawyer prepares for her final week as anchor of “World News,” last night she presented her final Person of the Week, a Friday franchise that goes back decades, to when Peter Jennings anchored “World News Tonight.” For Sawyer’s final Person of the Week, she revisits several of the people she’s profiled over the years. David Muir takes over as “World News” anchor Sept. 2.
NEXT PAGE >>