Monday, December 05, 2005


Well, ABC News made the announcement today. They named Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff anchors of World News Tonight and in a side announcement, also said this newscast would be broadcast live to the West Coast for the first time. TVNewser has more coverage.

As for Charles Gibson, well, he got robbed. And whoever his agent is ought to be fired immediately. Gibson was reportedly told last Thursday he would not be anchoring permanently, even though there were stories circulating as late as last week that the job was his. Personally, I think ABC is thinking that if Katie Couric gets the CBS Evening News job- and a decision is likely coming this week, we are told- then Charles and Diane and Robin can clean up on her replacement at the Today Show and kill NBC.

Problem for ABC, though, is this means they're probably going to get killed at 6:30 PM. And also, Gibson has a year left on his contract at ABC. Frankly I think his future is summed up in one word, or more accurately, three letters: CNN. (Speaking of which, this is a big day for CNN. They launched their Pipeline broadband service today, with four simultaneous feeds. But who cares about that.)

Don't feel too bad for Gibson. ABC News is going to have to make him the richest person in the TV news business in order to keep him. And if Couric turns around and stays at NBC they'll probably offer Gibson the CBS News anchor job and ABC News will be DOOMED. FINISHED.

I wonder about the strategy by ABC, I really do. They seem determined to become the third-place news network- or fifth place, if you count CNN and Fox News. On the one hand they are putting all their resources into Good Morning America, but the changes at Nightline have been met by boos from the critics who hate the new format of the show. And as for this World News Tonight anchor team, I must say, these two they hired don't impress me. I don't see rival networks rushing to want to sign these two for anchor jobs the way people did when they went after Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw back in the 80s. This is a move ABC is making with a look to the future, going with young anchors, but I must say this looks like a team that is going to send ABC News into third place for the next 20 years.

I predict these two are going to have a rough time. The critics are going to constantly compare these two to Peter Jennings. And if Couric goes to CBS then ABC is absolutely going to get clobbered.

As for Charles Gibson, I'm sure he's ready to quit, but who wants to be anchor of ABC News anyway? The job is a death trap. I hate to sound ghoulish here, but the last four anchors- Harry Reasoner, Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson and Jennings- all died at early ages. And the World News Tonight anchor chair has been vacated twice now by death.

For the sake of ABC News I hope Vargas and Woodruff are on a health kick and stay clear of the cigarettes.

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