Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff to Anchor ABC News
Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff have been named the new anchors of ABC’s “World News Tonight” rather than the veteran Charles Gibson.
ABC News settled on the youthful anchor team of Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff to replace the late Peter Jennings as anchor of “World News Tonight.” The network also said Monday that the second-ranked network evening newscast would be the first to broadcast live in three time zones, starting in January. Vargas and Woodruff will do new versions of “World News Tonight” for the central time zone and West Coast.
Left out of the mix was veteran ABC newsman Charles Gibson, co-host of “Good Morning America.” Gibson, Vargas and Woodruff had been the main substitutes since Jennings announced in April that he had lung cancer. Jennings died on Aug. 7. It was a key decision for ABC News President David Westin, who had to weigh whether it was worth disrupting the lucrative “Good Morning America” by taking Gibson off the broadcast. “I think ABC decided to take one risk instead of two,” said Bob Zelnick, former ABC newsman and now dean of Boston University’s journalism school.
With Vargas, 43, and Woodruff, 44, the anchor team has the potential to be in place for several years. The top-rated newscast, NBC’s “Nightly News,” is anchored by 47-year-old Brian Williams.
I watch very little television these days and know virtually nothing about Vargas and Woodruff other than that they appear very attractive, thus making them fully qualified to read the news to people too lazy to read it themselves.
In all seriousness, I’m sure they’re solid journalists, as is Brian Williams. We’ll never have the likes of Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley–or even Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw–as news anchors again simply because we’re no longer a three network, no choices society.
The choice to do three live newscasts is interesting and may slightly offset the major downfall of network newscasts, which is that they tend to be rather stale simply because of the lightning fast pace at which information travels. Of course, the downside is that having three slightly different newscasts will further erode the major benefit still provided by network newscasts: the shared national experience.
Update (1/29): ABC Anchor Bob Woodruff Injured by Iraq Bomb