Sawyer to replace Gibson as ABC anchor

Charlie Gibson has stepped down as ABC’s World News anchor and Diane Sawyer has been named as his successor.

Sawyer has been the longtime co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Richard Wald, a former news executive at ABC and NBC told The New York Times:

“You’re going to have, for the first time ever, two women competing as solo anchors in a television framework that just — within living memory — sort of destroyed every woman who tried to do it.”

Gibson’s decision to leave ABC was sudden and there is no plan yet for replacing Sawyer on Good Morning America.

A “veteran television news industry executive” who asked the Times for anonymity “to speak candidly about the competition” said:

“We’ll find out whether people don’t want to watch a woman anchor the news or whether they just didn’t want to watch Katie [Couric, CBS anchor].”

Of the three major U.S. networks, Couric’s broadcast on CBS is consistently third in ratings.

The changes will be effective in January.