GSteph_12.11.jpgWhile many wonder how brainiac George Stephanopoulos will adjust to the bathetic world of morning television, it may be a moot point.

Judging by ABC’s recent history, “Good Morning America” anchors are next in line for the “World News” throne.

The newest, Diane Sawyer, leaves “GMA” after today’s show to anchor “World News” beginning Dec. 21, the day before her 64th birthday. She replaces her former “GMA” co-anchor, Charlie Gibson, 66, whose “World News” finale is Dec. 18.

Tom Brokaw and Katie Couric followed the same route – both left NBC’s “Today” to anchor “NBC Nightly News” and “CBS Evening News,” respectively.

For Stephanopoulos, however, it’s sort of a reverse commute. He’s going from host of “This Week” in Washington – a job he was born to do in a town that breathes politics – to New York’s “GMA,” where politicians share the stage with reality show rejects.

“‘This Week’ plays to all of George’s strengths,” says Bob Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television. “He’s an intellectual, an egghead. Perfect for Sunday. All his credentials point to it.

“I can’t see him showing up on Halloween dressed like Peter Pan.”

Regardless, Thompson adds, “GMA” is “the price he has to pay to be the face of ABC News in the future. It’s the quickest way.”

How quick? At 48, Stephanopoulos is almost 16 years Sawyer’s junior. But with her genes, drive and political savvy, there’s no telling how long she’ll hold the chair.

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