And then there were none; on Wednesday ABC News announced that Diane Sawyer will be stepping down from her post as anchor of “World News” in September. The news comes just more than a month after pioneering journalist Barbara Walters stepped down from her role at ABC’s “The View”. Sawyer has been the anchor of the network’s flagship news program since 2009. Sawyer is currently the only female regularly anchoring an evening newscast on a major network. From 2009 to 2011 Sawyer shared the national airwaves with Katie Couric who anchored rival news program, the “CBS Evening News”.
According to a note to ABC News Staffers on Wednesday, Sawyer’s new role will allow her to develop new ABC News programing. ABC News President James Goldston said,
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.
With Sawyer departing the evening news desk, David Muir will continue to anchor “20/20” and will take on the role of Primary Anchor and Managing Editor of “World News” beginning Tuesday September 2. “Good Morning America” and “This Week,” anchor George Stephanopoulos is being elevated to Chief Anchor of ABC News. In this role which had been previously designated to the anchor of “World News;” Stephanopoulos will anchor special reports and breaking news as well as take the lead in election coverage.
For many years to come Diane will be a driving force at ABC News with her exceptional storytelling genius. 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.
In the span of nearly two years; from 2009 to 2011, American television had two highly regarded female journalists anchoring network evening newscasts; Couric and Sawyer. In 2006, ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas would become the first female in 10 years to be named as a co-anchor of a network evening newscast. Vargas co-anchored “World News Tonight” with Bob Woodruff following the death of Peter Jennings.
Two popular women have left their highly coveted anchor positions in the last few years. Should the networks have attempted to fill those vacancies with women? At ABC News; Elizabeth Vargas or Robin Roberts would be at the top of my list.