Charlie Gibson Finally Gets ABC Anchor Chair

What Everyone Is Talking About

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ABC's "World News Tonight" is back to a single-anchor format, after a very brief experiment with remaking the format of the evening news. And despite all the talk last year about how the major broadcasters were going to be shaking up the "voice of god" approach that's been so well-honed since the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, we're back to a middle-aged white guy reading the news.
Charlie Gibson
Charlie Gibson Credit: ABC

In December, ABC News President David Westin was still trying to fill his anchor chair following the death of Peter Jennings in August. Initially, the New York Times reported then, he wanted a three-anchor format with Elizabeth Vargas, Bob Woodruff and Charlie Gibson. But Gibson wanted a guarantee he could stay through the 2008 presidential election, and Westin wanted to only commit to two years. But other insiders said the discussions included Gibson as sole anchor up until 2008, when Vargas and Woodruff would take over as a team. But whichever scenario it was, Gibson and Westin couldn't hammer out a deal. As Gibson told the Times, "We simply agreed to disagree."

Six months later, it seems, they have found some common ground. Westin's decision to put Vargas and Woodruff in as a team for "World News Tonight" quickly fell apart when Woodruff was injured in Iraq at the end of January. Then just a few weeks later, ABC announced Vargas was expecting her second child, but that she would continue to anchor "World News Tonight" and contribute to "20/20." Originally, when news of her pregnancy came out, ABC and Vargas said she would continue with both shows until late summer. Now, before summer has even officially started, ABC says she'll step down for maternity leave and return in the fall -- but only on "20/20."

That clears the way for CBS to trumpet Katie Couric as the sole female anchor of an evening newscast. Gibson's contract this time around is reportedly long term, with no specified end date. Stay tuned for how "voice of god" performs against "voice of goddess."
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