This evening was Charlie Gibson‘s final broadcast on ABC’s “World News.”
Gibson announced he would be retiring from the program and from ABC News in September. Diane Sawyer, who ended her run at “Good Morning America” last Friday, will take over the program starting Monday.
“It’s hard to walk away from what I honestly think is the best job in the world,” Gibson said at the end of the newscast. “There is so much to do in the years I have left, I don’t want to miss any of it. It has been a privilege and an honor to be here, working with reporters, producers and staff for whom I have unbounded respect. This is, for them, as it has been for me, as it was for Frank Reynolds, as it was for Peter Jennings, a labor of love.”
He also stressed how important objectivity is for his business and said,”It is what we strive for each night. It is my hope that is what you have looked for and that is what you have found when you come to abc’s ‘World News.’ You’ll find it with my pal Diane Sawyer, who assumes this chair on Monday.”
“That is ‘World News’ for this Friday,” he said at the close. “I’m Charlie Gibson, and I hope you’ve had a good day. I’ve had so many good days here.”
ABC then ran a montage featuring President Obama, former Presidents W. Bush, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Carter as well as a host of comedians, musicians, actors, athletes, and many fellow journalists, including Joan Lunden, Katie Couric, and Brian Williams, sending their wishes. The broadcast concluded with an emotional scene of Gibson sitting at his desk, surrounded by the applause of the ABC News staff. (Video below, more photos after the jump.)
More: After the broadcast, we hear that around 150 staffers — including ABC News President David Westin — as well as Gibson’s wife and daughters gathered for a champagne toast.
“World News” EP Jon Banner delivered his toast to Gibson, describing what he meant to the show and to the staff personally. “After all you have accomplished professionally — as we re-lived over the past few days — you never forgot where you came from,” Banner said, according to someone in the crowd. “You not only taught us right from wrong in journalism, you taught us right from wrong in life. And for that, we are forever grateful.”