“It’s a chauvinistic question,” explains Chung, 63, Dan Rather‘s co-anchor on “CBS Evening News” for about a minute and a half in the early ’90s. “The question should be, ‘How will Diane do against Brian [Williams] and Katie?’”
“Good Morning America’s” Sawyer, 63, will replace retirement-bound Charlie Gibson, 66, as anchor of “ABC World News” beginning in January, ABC announced yesterday. She’ll take on Williams’ No. 1 “NBC Nightly News” and Couric’s No. 3 “CBS Evening News.”
Wonder if Couric’s executive producer, Rick Kaplan, will take down the framed photograph of Sawyer on his office “anchor wall”? He was her E.P. on ABC’s “PrimeTime Live’ when it launched in 1989. Also in the gallery: Walter Cronkite, from Kaplan’s earlier CBS hitch.
While Sawyer was the obvious choice for “World News”, the sudden timing of the news caught many in the industry by surprise, including Chung.
“I never thought Charlie would give up the chair,” she says.
“I’m shocked,” says Emily Rooney, 59, of Boston’s WGBH and former E.P. of “World News Tonight.’ “He’s only 66. I don’t know why he would want to retire if the affiliates are happy. I’m always suspicious. My gut is that they promised her this.”
Jim Bell, E.P. of NBC’s champion “Today,” is relieved he won’t have to compete with Sawyer anymore, but says he’s surprised ABC “would tinker with ‘GMA’. It seemed like they were all in a good place.”
Were they? Who knows? ABC kept Sawyer and Gibson under wraps yesterday.