The new face of ABC’s “World News Tonight” is actually two faces, but it was almost three. Elizabeth Vargas, 44, and Bob Woodruff, 43, will co-anchor the No. 2- rated evening newscast. ABC News Chief David Westin offered them the chairs after he and Charles Gibson, the “Good Morning America” co-host and three-decade veteran of ABC News, couldn’t agree on timing or tenure, according to multiple reports out today. That’s likely the best-case scenario for Westin, who was juggling the need to keep the GMA team, including star Diane Sawyer, happy with Gibson’s desire to be in the anchor chair through the 2008 presidential election. The Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC will also change the format, broadcasting live to three time zones and adding more Internet news, including a broadband preview on ABCnews.com.
|Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff
Why is this important information for advertisers? Because all of the maneuvering is ultimately less about kick-ass reporting and more about boosting ratings to attract more advertising revenue. So far this year, the three have split a total of $368M in ad revenue. But the three morning shows brought in $791M. That makes the TV news chess board of which piece to move from morning to evening a little more black and white.