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Why the ‘World News’ Changes? Quotes from Diane Sawyer, David Muir and George Stephanopoulos

DAVID MUIR, DIANE SAWYER, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, JAMES GOLDSTON

ABC sent us this picture of ABC News president James Goldston, “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer, incoming “World News” anchor David Muir and ABC news Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos following this morning’s announcement of anchor changes at the network news division.

“After wonderful years at “World News” I decided it is time to move to a new full time role at ABC News,” said Sawyer in a press release. “I’ll be joined by an incredible team of journalists dedicated to enterprise reporting, innovative approaches to breaking news and new ways of thinking about big issues and events around the world. I can’t wait to continue bringing more of my specials to prime time and appearing on all ABC News broadcasts, as well. And to my friends and colleagues George and David – congratulations. I look forward to exciting work together and great times ahead.”

“On this incredibly humbling day, I think of the 12-year-old boy with a dream of being a reporter and seeing the world,” added Muir. “I never could have imagined seeing that world with Diane Sawyer. On this day I thank her for not only setting the bar for the rest of us, but for being a trusted friend. I cannot wait to begin this new adventure with Diane and with George, whose political brain power and endless curiosity inspire me, and drive us all to be better every day.”

“Getting the chance to do work you love — work that touches people’s lives every day — is one of life’s greatest privileges,” said Stephanopoulos. “Even luckier is when you get to do that work with the best in the business – Diane, David and our entire ABC News team. It’s an honor to be part of that team. I can’t wait to build on our success — and bring our viewers our best — for years to come.”

See Goldston’s note to the ABC News staff after the jump…

Team,

Over the last few weeks we’ve celebrated some terrific milestones – number one in the May sweep across the board and earning the highest honors for journalistic excellence in the Edward R. Murrow awards.

Great storytelling and great results start with a team that strives every day to do work of the highest quality.

So I want to share some important and exciting news about three of our anchors who will help lead us to be even better.

At the end of last year Diane Sawyer started a conversation with Ben about one day stepping away from World News and devoting her boundless energy full time to a team which will create and commission original reporting, big ideas and interviews for all platforms.

As much as she loved leading World News to new heights – with so much important, brilliant and impactful reporting and a number one finish in the May sweep – Diane decided that now is the moment to concentrate full time on tackling big issues in new ways.

For many years to come Diane will be a driving force at ABC News with her exceptional storytelling genius. She will create innovative television specials and events, and, of course, continue to conduct the biggest interviews with the most important and extraordinary people in the world. Starting this summer she will begin to develop these new stories, working closely with me, David Sloan, Almin Karamehmedovic, Jeanmarie Condon, Claire Weinraub and Michael Corn. And, of course, Ben will continue to be a part of this creative process as Diane’s long time editorial partner.

Diane’s incredible work on Hidden America and her masterful interviews with Gabby Giffords, Malala Yousafzai and recently Hillary Clinton bring great distinction to the entire news division. Her curiosity, passion and energy inspire us all. Diane is one of the giants of modern journalism, and we can’t wait to see where she’ll lead us next.

I’m also very pleased to announce that George Stephanopoulos will take on a new and vital responsibility for our organization in the new role as Chief Anchor of ABC News.

In this position, George will be our lead anchor for major special events and breaking news at ABC, driving our live network coverage for the biggest stories. From the retirement of Pope Benedict to the manhunt for the Boston bomber, George skillfully navigates uncertain and unfolding situations while synthesizing the latest reporting for our viewers. George is adept at balancing both complex global and public policy questions and deeply personal stories in interviews with numerous luminaries from Vladimir Putin to Angelina Jolie.

George brings to all our programs his tremendous intellect, competitive drive, unwavering work ethic and a laser-like focus that have played an essential role in our recent success, driving Good Morning America forward to #1 and leading This Week into its best competitive position in a generation. He will continue to anchor both shows as he assumes this new and critical leadership role.

And there is simply no better political journalist on television today. That is why George will once again lead our election coverage starting with the mid-terms this Fall and onwards to the 2016 presidential race and beyond.

The news division could not be in stronger hands with George in his new role.

Then starting September 2, David Muir will become the Anchor and Managing Editor of our flagship broadcast, World News.

For more than a decade, David has been front and center reporting on the biggest stories of our time, helping drive us forward with tireless dedication, hard work and good humor. From Katrina to Egypt’s Tahrir Square, from Fukushima to Newtown, David has carefully guided our viewers through tragedy and world events with his tough questions and trademark compassion. He was the first American journalist to report from Mogadishu, Somalia on the worst famine of a generation and recently took our viewers into Iran, getting rare access to the streets of Tehran.

David’s “Made in America” series has become a hallmark of World News, showing just how impactful our work can be as he champions small town triumphs and companies creating jobs. David has made his reputation reporting from the ground on every big story of recent times, and we know that when the big stories happen, wherever they happen, David will be there for us and our audience.

Over the years David has brought our viewers numerous newsmaker interviews and he’ll continue to do so. From the campaign trail with presidential candidate Mitt Romney to First Lady Michelle Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Apple CEO Tim Cook among many others, his interviews generate headlines well beyond ABC News.

David will also continue to anchor 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas and will play a key role in covering the biggest breaking news events as they happen.

I could not be more thrilled that he is taking the helm at World News.

Diane, George and David are all singular talents, one-of-a kind journalists, gifted storytellers and uniquely skilled broadcasters who inspire us, every day, to do our very best work.

Which simply means they fit in quite nicely here at ABC News, because we have the best team in the business. With these three and Robin Roberts – the heart of our organization – and all of you leading us forward, I am confident there are many great days and much great work ahead.

Please join me in congratulating Diane, George and David on their exciting new roles.

James

###

PRESS RELEASE

Sawyer, Stephanopoulos and Muir Take on New Roles Leading ABC News Programming

Diane Sawyer to Lead New ABC News Programming Tackling Big Issues and Extraordinary Interviews

George Stephanopoulos Promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News Handling Special Reports and Breaking News

David Muir Will Become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News Starting September 2

ABC News today announced new roles for anchors Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and David Muir. Sawyer will lead new programming tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews. Stephanopoulos, Anchor of Good Morning America and This Week, has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News, handling special reports and breaking news. Muir, Anchor of 20/20, will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News starting September 2.

“We have an extraordinary team of anchors who are gifted storytellers and uniquely skilled broadcasters,” said James Goldston, president, ABC News. “For years to come, they will inspire us all to do our best work and set a high bar for excellence to inform, empower and inspire our viewers.”

After leading World News, the network’s flagship broadcast, for nearly five years and to a number one finish in the May sweep, Sawyer has decided to step aside from anchoring a daily program to concentrate full time on new programming. She will lead a team to create and commission original reporting and major interviews for all ABC News programs and platforms. Sawyer will anchor and produce television specials and continue to interview the most extraordinary people in the world.

“For many years to come Diane will be a driving force at ABC News with her exceptional storytelling genius,” he added. “She is one of the giants of modern journalism. Her curiosity, passion and energy are unmatched, and I can’t wait to see where she’ll lead us next.”

“After wonderful years at “World News” I decided it is time to move to a new full time role at ABC News. I’ll be joined by an incredible team of journalists dedicated to enterprise reporting, innovative approaches to breaking news and new ways of thinking about big issues and events around the world,” Sawyer said. “I can’t wait to continue bringing more of my specials to prime time and appearing on all ABC News broadcasts, as well. And to my friends and colleagues George and David – congratulations. I look forward to exciting work together and great times ahead.”

World News won the May Sweep in Adults 25-54, the evening broadcast’s first sweeps victory in more than six years. Season to date, World News is up versus the same point last year in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54, delivering its most-watched season in five years and best news demo number in three years. World News is the only evening newscast to improve on its news demo performance from the previous season compared to NBC and CBS.

Stephanopoulos will add the duties of Chief Anchor of ABC News to his responsibilities. For the last four years he has helped lead Good Morning America to number one, and after returning to the program two years ago, has driven This Week to its best competitive position in a generation. In his new role Stephanopoulos will also lead the network’s coverage of special events and breaking news.

The best political journalist on television, Stephanopoulos will also lead ABC News’ election coverage starting with the mid-terms this fall, the 2016 presidential race and beyond.

“George skillfully navigates uncertain and unfolding situations. He is adept at balancing both complex global and public policy questions and deeply personal and emotional stories,” said Goldston. “He brings to all our programs and live coverage his tremendous intellect, competitive drive and unwavering work ethic. The news division simply could not be in stronger hands with George in this new and vital role.”

“Getting the chance to do work you love — work that touches people’s lives every day — is one of life’s greatest privileges,” said Stephanopoulos. “Even luckier is when you get to do that work with the best in the business – Diane, David and our entire ABC News team. It’s an honor to be part of that team. I can’t wait to build on our success — and bring our viewers our best — for years to come.”

GMA stands as the No. 1 morning news program for the 2nd-straight year in both Total Viewers and Adults 25-54. This Week is delivering its strongest performance in five years and won the May sweep in Adults 25-54, the first sweeps victory in the key news demo in nearly 21 years.

Starting September 2, Muir will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News.

For a decade Muir has been front and center on nearly every major news story for World News, first reporting for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Muir’s dispatches from around the world have been a staple for World News viewers. He was the first American journalist to report from Mogadishu, Somalia on the worst famine in a generation, coming under fire while reporting from the war-torn city. In 2013, Muir took viewers into Iran, getting rare access to the streets of Tehran. We will continue to see David report from all over the world, contributing to all programs and platforms of ABC News.

His Emmy-nominated “Made in America” series has become a hallmark of World News. He has filed more than 100 reports on U.S. companies creating jobs in America.

“David has made his reputation reporting from the ground on every big story of recent times, and we know that when big stories happen, wherever they happen, David will be there for us and for our audience,” said Goldston. “I am thrilled he is taking the helm at World News.”

“On this incredibly humbling day, I think of the 12-year-old boy with a dream of being a reporter and seeing the world. I never could have imagined seeing that world with Diane Sawyer,” said Muir. “On this day I thank her for not only setting the bar for the rest of us, but for being a trusted friend. I cannot wait to begin this new adventure with Diane and with George, whose political brain power and endless curiosity inspire me, and drive us all to be better every day.”

In 2013, Muir was named co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20, which closed out the 2013-2014 season with its highest ratings in five years. He will continue to co-anchor the program with Elizabeth Vargas.

Muir will no longer anchor World News Saturday and Sunday, a job he has held since 2011.

(Photo: Heidi Gutman/ABC)

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