ABC is set to announce that George Stephanopoulos will become the new anchor of their long-running morning show Good Morning America, confirming rumors that have placed the political correspondent as the replacement for Diane Sawyer.
Stephanopoulos was a former political adviser to President Bill Clinton. Post-White House, he took multiple hosting gigs on ABC News. He appeared many times during political events along with regular appearances on the network’s news programs.
It was also rumored that Stephanopoulos had concerns about relocating for the GMA role and losing “news cred” by giving up his hosting duties on his current news program This Week. Stephanopoulos will keep his current show “”for the foreseeable future”, one source said within ABC News.
He was reportedly wary of losing the hard-news cred he’s built up over the years. When he first came to ABC, many dismissed him as a Democratic lapdog, but he’s become a respected analyst who is tough on both parties, and who also serves as the network’s chief Washington correspondent.
Stephanopoulos had wanted to restructure the GMA hosting role to allow him to work the first hour of the broadcast focused on hard news, pushing into the second hour of the show with the softer, more feature stuff that sets the morning shows apart from the evening newscasts.
Stephanopoulos will start his new job on Good Morning America on December 14th and will join current host Robin Roberts.
Good Morning America is the nation’s second most-watched morning program behind NBC’s Today.
Along with Stephanopoulos’ move, the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Chris Cuomo, will replace JuJu Chang as co-anchor on the ABC news magazine 20/20.
Sawyer departed Good Morning America to replace Charles Gibson on ABC’s World News on December 21st. Gibson, who was also once a host on Good Morning America, announced he would step down last fall. Sawyer joins CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric as each network’s leading news voice.
Couric left NBC’s Today to become the first female anchor on a nightly news program. Her tenor has been turbulent with an initial spike in viewers once she took over, but viewership has declined in recent years. CBS Evening News trails both ABC and NBC during this time spot. Rumors persist of Couric leaving CBS Evening News before her contract expiration in 2011.
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