Charles Gibson Named Sole Anchor of ‘World News Tonight’

Just months after having been passed over for the gig in favor of two younger, prettier, faces, Charles Gibson has been named the sole anchor of ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’.

ABC News has named Charles Gibson to be sole anchor of “World News Tonight.” “Charlie Gibson is one of the most distinguished journalists on television. He is a superb broadcaster, the consummate professional, and a very familiar presence to the audience and everyone at ‘World News Tonight,'” said ABC News President David Westin, who announced the decision today.


Following the death of “World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings in August 2005, Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff were named co-anchors of the broadcast in December 2005. Vargas said today she had chosen to step down to take maternity leave and later return to co-anchor “20/20” and ABC News specials.

“Going forward Elizabeth Vargas has asked that we limit her responsibilities to anchoring ’20/20′ and special primetime hours,” Westin said. “From the moment Peter became ill, no person in this organization has stepped up more than Elizabeth. I have nothing but respect, gratitude and admiration for the work she has done on our behalf oftentimes under enormously stressful conditions. Elizabeth is absolutely vital to the success and future of ABC News.”

Vargas said she had made the decision after consulting with her doctors. “David and I have been talking for some time about what would happen as my maternity leave approaches,” Vargas said. “My doctors have asked that I cut back my schedule considerably. What works best for me and my family is to return in the fall to ’20/20’ as I raise my new baby and young son.”

An understandable and commendable decision, although an odd change of heart considering that she was pregnant when she took the anchor job. Did she not understand then that it is a time-consuming job?

Especially odd is that Bob Woodruff, who was seriously wounded by an IED in Iraq, is relegated to footnote treatment in the story.

Westin added, “Charlie’s taking over ‘World News Tonight’ will give Bob Woodruff the extended period that he needs to recover and return to the air for ABC News. All of us look forward to that day, but it will be on Bob’s timetable, not ours.” Woodruff is recovering from injuries sustained in January while reporting from Iraq. Woodruff said, “Elizabeth and I set out on a great adventure this year, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. Elizabeth had to shoulder an enormous job when I was injured, and she did it with grace. Charlie Gibson is a mentor and a friend. I look forward to contributing to his broadcast as soon as I’m able.”

So, does he get his job back then? As Gibson’s co-anchor?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    ABC saw that Bob Schieffer, himself no spring chicken, was doing such a good job at CBS Evening News, that they couldn’t do worse by picking a veteran like Gibson.

  2. I suspect Woodruff comes back as a “special assignment correspondent”.

    Bottom line was they weren’t catching fire from a ratings stand point, between the injury and the baby there was going to be a gap, so ABC decided to ‘move on’. For the current anchors, they could get lovely parting gifts or be pushed. They opted for the parting gifts.

    Now think back to win Hume was with ABC. If ABC had managed their stable better, they could have been looking at holding or increasing share.