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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Vargas’

Elizabeth Vargas Returns to Rehab

GerogeVargasABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas has returned to an alcohol rehabilitation center. Vargas says it was during her vacation this weekend that she decided to return to rehab. “As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process,” Vargas writes in a statement. “I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry.”

“Nothing is more important than Elizabeth’s health and well-being,” ABC says in a statement. “We stand squarely behind her. Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and her family, and we look forward to having her back at ABC News when she feels ready to return.”

Vargas checked herself into a alcohol rehabilitation facility last November. Upon her return to ABC News in January, Vargas sat down with George Stephanopoulos to discuss her addiction and recovery. She says it all started with panic attacks as a child, which continued into adulthood. “Anchoring the evening news, I had to take beta blockers because I was so nervous and so anxious,” she said. “That’s exhausting to live like that and it becomes very easy to think, ‘I deserve this glass of wine. I’m so stressed out and I’m keeping it hidden.”

In her statement today, Varas says, “I am committed to battling and addressing this debilitating disease and want to thank everyone who has offered their unwavering support during this trying time.”

The New York Post first reported the news.

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The ‘Subliminal Message’ Behind David Muir’s Ascent to ‘World News’ Anchor

david muirCome September, three white men will anchor the three network evening newscasts. Is it 2005 — or 1975 — all over again? Some think so.

“The evening news anchors are the face of the network,” says Karen Turner, an associate professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, whose research focuses on race in the news. “In this growing multicultural nation, it’s unconscionable that as of September three white men will lead their respective networks.”

Brian Williams, 55, has been anchor of “NBC Nighty News” since 2004, he took over for Tom Brokaw who had been anchor since 1982, and John Chancellor before that. Scott Pelley, who turns 57 next month, has been at the helm of “CBS Evening News” since May, 2011. That broadcast was anchored by Katie Couric for the previous 5 years, and by Bob Schieffer, Dan Rather (briefly paired with Connie Chung) and Walter Cronkite in earlier years.

Muir, 40, takes over for Diane Sawyer who has been anchor since 2009. Sawyer came in following the retirement of Charles Gibson who, in 2006, succeeded the anchor team of Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas. The Woodfuff-Vargas pairing lasted only a few weeks following the serious injuries sustained by Woodruff in an attack in Iraq.

“Certainly Pelley, Williams and now Muir are accomplished journalists,” Turner adds. “However, the subliminal message this sends is these — white males — are the legitimate faces that should represent America.”

Diane Sawyer Leaving ‘ABC World News;’ David Muir Takes Over as Anchor and Managing Editor

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Breaking: ABC’s Diane Sawyer is stepping down from anchoring “World News” and will focus on primetime specials, big interviews, and enterprise reporting for the network. David Muir, who has been sole anchor of the “World News” weekend editions since 2011, will take over as anchor and managing editor of the flagship broadcast on September 2. Muir, 40, will continue to co-anchor “20/20″ with Elizabeth Vargas.

Also announced today, “Good Morning America” co-host and “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos takes on the new role of chief anchor of ABC News. He’ll lead special reports, breaking news and election night coverage for the network as well as continuing with “GMA” and “This Week.”

Insiders tell us Sawyer began talking with former ABC News president Ben Sherwood late last year about a transition from the anchor desk. With the retirement of Barbara Walters last month, Sawyer will now take on some of the specials and interviews that for years were part of Walters’ stock in trade.

Under Sawyer, “World News” has been gaining on “NBC Nightly News.” The broadcast won the May sweeps in the A25-54 demo for the first time in more than 6 years. Sawyer, who began anchoring “World News” in December 2009, is the second woman to solo anchor a network nightly newscast, following Katie Couric‘s 2006-2011 run at “CBS Evening News.” “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” maintains a one million viewer lead most nights on “World News” and hasn’t lost a week among total viewers in nearly 5 years.

The Sawyer, Muir and Stephanopoulos news is at the top of the agenda of ABC News president James Goldston‘s morning editorial meeting. We’ll have details if/when we get them this morning. A replacement for Muir on the weekend newscasts will come at a later date.

When Barbara Walters Misses ‘The View,’ She Thinks of Margaret Thatcher

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Barbara Walters admits, “I still have the feeling sometimes when I’m watching ‘The View,’ ‘I should be there! I should be participating…’ and then I think of Margaret Thatcher.”

Walters, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Quinnipiac University Fred Friendly committee, reflected on a 1997 interview with Britain’s longest-serving prime minister, seven years after she resigned from office. Thatcher described her frantic, frenetic days, until one day she realized, “it’s no longer me anymore.”

“That’s the feeling I got this morning when I watched ‘The View,’” Walters joked.

Walters, who stepped aside from hosting the daytime show last month, remains an executive producer. She still has her office at ABC News headquarters, which now bears her name. And her resignation — she used air quotes around the word today — has already been interrupted. As we first told you yesterday, she’ll fly to California in the coming weeks to interview Peter Rodger, the father of Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger.

Among those celebrating along with Walters: ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas and David Muir, ABC News president James Goldston, and executives Barbara Fedida, Susan Mercandetti and Jeffrey Schneider. From CBS, Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and Troy Roberts, from FNC, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Hemmer and former anchor Alisyn Camerota and from CNN Christine Romans and Richard Roth.

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Two Dozen Women of TV News, Barbara Walters’ Legacy, Join Her on Her Final ‘View’

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For weeks we’ve been writing about the legacy of Barbara Walters. This afternoon, that legacy came to life in the finale of her final “The View,” taped at ABC’s West Side studios, and airing tomorrow.

TVNewser was there as more than two dozen women TV news anchors packed the stage, each introduced by Oprah Winfrey, among the guests on Walters’ final show. One by one, they greeted a stunned Walters, beginning with Diane Sawyer and continuing with Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Amy Robach, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira; also, Jane Pauley, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Cynthia McFadden, Gayle King, Maria Shriver, Juju Chang, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lisa Ling, Tamron Hall, Gretchen Carlson, Connie Chung, Paula Zahn, Deborah Norville, and Joan Lunden.

“I have to remember this on the bad days, because this is the best,” said Walters in the commercial break. “They just kept coming, and coming,” joked Sherri Shepherd. During the first part of the show, to keep it secret, the women hid out in Dr. Oz’s studio across the hall.

The show began with Hillary Clinton as the first guest. She encouraged Walters to take some time off — at least a week. Later, Walters said that’s part of her plan — a trip to Berlin is in the works, someplace she’s never been. Among the VIPs in the crowd, New York Knicks forward J.R. Smith. During another commercial break Walters’ joked to Smith that her retirement plans  include “buying the Clippers!” There are other highlights including a hilarious sketch (if you’re a Cheri Oteri fan, and we are) of Barbara interviewing Barbara.

“You’ll never see this again, folks,” Whoppi Goldberg said as the show wound down. “Only for Barbara.”

(Photos: Chris Ariens)

Barbara Walters Farewell: ‘True, I Was the First Female Co-Host… But Also True, I Was a Flop’

WaltersSawyerIt was a star-studded farewell for Barbara Walters at New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant tonight. From comedian Joan Rivers to commissioner Bill Bratton; from New York’s chronicler of scandal, Cindy Adams, to the man who plays the president on “Scandal,” Tony Goldwyn; from actor Woody Allen to attorney David Boies, But mostly, the pool room was packed with Walters’ fellow TV news colleagues and those ladies — past and present — from “The View.” Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd; Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar.

Following a best of Barbara video, Disney Chairman Bob Iger welcomed the crowd, before Walters delivered a few words of thanks and admitting it hasn’t always been easy. “True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program. But also true, I was a flop. My male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, gasping for air. Then someone threw me that life preserver called Specials with the biggest stars in news and show business and I learned how to swim again.”

Current and former evening news anchors were there, including Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams who arrived with Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric and fiancé John Molner; and Connie Chung (who was part of an ill-fated co-anchor pairing with Dan Rather) and husband Maury Povich. We caught up with early risers Savannah Guthrie and George Stephanopoulos along with their spouses, Mike Feldman, and Ali Wentworth, respectively, as they were heading out. Guthrie’s “Today” colleague Al Roker and his wife, ABC correspondent Deborah Roberts made the rounds as well.

Walters continued: “I’m grateful to the legendary Roone Arledge for bringing me to ABC News; thankful to David Westin for his steady leadership; to Ben Sherwood – you made us all believe we could win and with your leadership and passion, we did; and James Goldston – I’m told that all our shows are number one at the moment – you should quit right now.” Sherwood, Goldston and Westin were all on hand, as were other ABC News executives including Barbara Fedida, David Sloan, Jeanmarie Condon and John Green.

We spotted Jenny McCarthy hand-in-hand with fiance Donnie Wahlberg; the “Nightline” team of Juju ChangDan Abrams, and Dan Harris as well as a host of correspondents and anchors from ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and Fox, including Elizabeth VargasAmy RobachDavid MuirNorah O’DonnellJon KarlGio Benitez, Dr. Richard Besser, Tory JohnsonRick Klein, Brian Ross, Mara Schiavocampo, Thomas RobertsAlicia MenendezHoda Kotb, Greta Van Susteren and Lisa Ling, a former “View” co-host, now woking on a new show for CNN.

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Elizabeth Vargas to Write Memoir on Alcoholism

VargasGeorgeABC’s Elizabeth Vargas is writing a memoir about her struggle with alcoholism that will be published by Grand Central Publishing in 2016.

“When I first began to worry about my own drinking, I turned to books other women had written about their own alcoholism. I learned I was not alone, and it helped me find the courage to reach out and get help,” Vargas said in a statement. “I have spent my entire life telling other peoples’ stories. This one is my own, and is incredibly personal: the burden and loneliness of of the secret drinker.”

Vargas, the host of “20/20,” spent time in rehab last year. She talked about her experience on “Good Morning America” in January, saying: ““This isn’t what I want to be known for, but I’m really proud of what I did.”

[h/t The Hollywood Reporter]

Barbara Walters to Elizabeth Vargas: ‘We All Knew’ About Your Alcoholism

Barbara ElizabethSitting next to Elizabeth Vargas on “The View” as she opened up about her battle with alcoholism, Barbara Walters told Vargas that her addiction was well-known among colleagues.

“We knew…I’m very fond of Elizabeth and proud of her, but we knew. It was public at that point,” Walters said during a discussion about Vargas’ attempt to keep her struggle secret from her colleagues.

“No it wasn’t,” Vargas awkwardly responded generating a moment of silence on the panel.

Page Six reports Walters later called Vargas to apologize.

The two women told Page Six there’s nothing to the on-air frostiness.

Barbara told us, “I love Elizabeth and have great admiration for her. I never would have deliberately said anything to hurt her, and I called to tell her that.” Elizabeth added, “This is silly! Barbara is a colleague and a friend.”

The video after the jump. Read more

With Elizabeth Vargas’s Return, ’20/20′ Hits 4-Year High

“20/20″ drew its biggest audience in nearly 4 years last night. 8.3 million watched the return of co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas after completing rehabilitation for alcohol.

“It’s great to be back,” Vargas said at the top of the show to co-anchor David Muir. ‘Thank you for all your support and thank you to all our viewers, as well, it really meant a lot to me.”

The ABC News magazine, airing at 10pmET/PT had the highest A18-49 and A25-54 numbers in close to two years, since Feb. 5, 2010 and March 30, 2012, respectively.

ABC’s Friday primetime tied a season high on the night. The network won Friday among Adults 18-49 for the 3rd week in a row. The other Friday night newsmagazine, NBC’s Dateline drew 7.7 million viewers at 8pmET/PT.

“20/20″ closed the show with Vargas’s story.

Elizabeth Vargas: ‘My Husband said, You Have a Problem. You’re an Alcoholic’

VargasGeorgeIt took several years, but one work assignment, for ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas to realize she was an alcoholic. Wine was her drink of choice.

“On a Saturday afternoon I showed up for a ’20/20′ shoot and I was in no shape to do that interview,” Vargas told George Stephanopoulos this morning on “Good Morning America.” ”I got out of the car I realized what am I doing? And that’s when I knew I needed to get help.”

Vargas says she had panic attacks as a child, which continued into adulthood. “I had a panic attack on live television when I was anchoring in Chicago,” said Vargas. It continued when she joined ABC News, and, in 2006, was named co-anchor of “ABC World News Tonight.”

“Anchoring the evening news, I had to take beta blockers because I was so nervous and so anxious,” she said. “That’s exhausting to live like that and it becomes very easy to think, ‘I deserve this glass of wine. I’m so stressed out and I’m keeping it hidden.”

She went into to rehab late last year on the advice of her husband, musician Marc Cohn. She told her sons, 7 and 10, that she had an allergy to alcohol. “I stayed for 28 days and left against their advice and came home because I really wanted to come home and they said ‘we think you need to do more work.’ And I came home for five days and realized they were right and I went back and finished.”

“This isn’t what I want to be known for,” says Vargas. “But I’m really proud of what I did.”

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