Christiane Amanpour To Host This Week

As the new moderator of This Week, Christiane Amanpour will be the sole female host of a Sunday network talk show. And that's just one of many reasons to be excited.

The politics-oriented Sunday shows are notorious for their lack of diversity. Most of the hosts have been white and male until this point, and then there are the guests: According to a Media Matters study in 2008, "roughly 80 percent of the newsmakers and pundits who have appeared on the shows over the past eight years also have been white men."

Interestingly, although the last decade has been a rather sorry showing for diversity, it wasn't always this way, according to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Meet the Press" was co-founded by Martha Rountree, who was also its first moderator, in 1947. She, Lesley Stahl, the 1983-91 "Face the Nation" moderator, and Cokie Roberts, the 1996-2002 "This Week" co-host, are the only women to lead a Sunday show.

Amanpour brings the total to four! So we've made progress since 1947. (Update: It's true that Candy Crowley's show on CNN is a political talk show that runs on Sunday, but it's still not considered to be in the same league, nor does it have the same history, as the network shows.)

Amanpour, who spent her childhood in her father's native Iran, has it all: experience onscreen and in the field, gravitas, a command of the issues. ABC News president David Westin appeared to address concerns that she'll be too internationally focused for these inside-baseball shows by saying in his statement, "We will continue to provide the best in interviews and analysis about domestic politics and policies. But now we will add to that an international perspective," Westin said. And it's not like U.S. political discourse isn't sorely in need of a little attention and context on the rest of the world.

An added bonus: Her mellifluous voice, which I could listen to reading the phone book. Evidence in this Fresh Air interview, in which Amanpour describes her reporting on genocide.

Christiane Amanpour Named This Week Anchor [ABCNews]

Related: Christiane Amanpour, Reporting On Genocide [NPR]
White Males Rule Sunday News Shows [SF Chronicle]