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Rick Kaplan named EP of ABC’s ‘This Week with Christiane Amanpour’

He’s not even out, and he’s already back in.

Rick Kaplan, whose final “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” production is set for tonight, is about to undertake his third tour of duty at ABC News as he joins the network to head up political coverage and executive produce “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

Kaplan announced Tuesday he was leaving CBS News. It was a return to CBS for Kaplan who worked for Walter Cronkite‘s CBS broadcast.

After CBS, Kaplan spent 18 years at ABC (1979-1997) first as senior producer of “World News Tonight,” then EP of “Nightline” from 1985-1989; creator and EP of “Primetime LIVE” from 1989-1994 and finally EP of “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” from 1994-1996.

Kaplan returned to ABC News in 2003-2004 as SVP responsible for the division’s hard news programs and political coverage. Insiders remember when he wrapped the ABC News bus for 2004 presidential campaign coverage.

Not only is this a return to ABC for Kaplan, who’s also a past president of MSNBC, but it reunites him with Amanpour with whom he worked in the late 1990′s when Kaplan was president of CNN.

Kaplan will be based in New York and, like Amanpour, commute to Washington for Sunday’s shows.

“This Week” has been without an executive since Ian Cameron departed the show last Fall.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood‘s note after the jump…

From: Sherwood, Ben
Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 2:32 PM
To: #ABCTV News ALL
Cc: Sweeney, Anne X.
Subject: Rick Kaplan

I’m delighted to report that Rick Kaplan is returning to ABC News as Executive Producer of This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Rick will also oversee our political coverage. His mission: To lead This Week to #1 and to guide ABC News to dominance in the 2012 elections and beyond.

As many of you know, ABC News is home base for Rick. He spent some 20 years here as executive producer of Good Morning America, Nightline, PrimeTime Live, and World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Over the course of 40 years in news, Rick has worked at four major networks and served as president of two cable news operations. Most recently, he served as executive producer of The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

Rick is a towering figure in broadcast news, winning 44 Emmys, 8 Murrows, 4 DuPonts, 2 RFK’s and 2 George Foster Peabody Awards.

His first charge will be to build on the extraordinary work of Christiane and her talented team. From Tuscon to Egypt to Libya to Japan, Christiane has had a remarkable run with exclusive reporting and interviewing around the globe. In tumultuous times ABC News viewers can count on Christiane and Rick to help explain the world.

On a personal note, I met Rick in August 1989 when I joined ABC News as an associate producer at PrimeTime Live. Screening pieces with Rick still evokes the most vivid, visceral memories. We all learned so much from Rick about storytelling, showmanship, and the fighting spirit. I am thrilled that he’s returning at this exciting moment for our news division.

Welcome home, Rick. It’s great to have you back.

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