ABC has announced that World News's Diane Sawyer will be stepping down from her role as anchor in order to pursue other roles with the network. Replacing her will be Good Morning America cohost George Stephanopoulos for breaking stories and David Muir for day-to-day anchoring duties, thus returning network nightly news anchor desk to the all-dude sausage fest it was before Katie Couric took the reigns at CBS in 2006.
According to a memo released by ABC brass today, Sawyer had been weighing a new role at ABC since last year. The memo referred to a future of "innovative television specials and events," and "the biggest interviews with the most important and extraordinary people in the world." Which could really mean anything, but what it sounds like it could be is a move to fill the vacuum left by the retirement of another venerable female news anchor, interview, and storyteller who only recently retired — Barbara Walters.
Sawyer's 5-year tenure at World News was impressive by any standards, culminating with a bragworthy #1 finish in this May's sweeps, and filling her shoes will be tough. ABC has tapped GMA's Stephanopoulos to fill the role as Chief Anchor, which means he'll be "lead anchor for major special events and breaking news at ABC" as well as leading political coverage through the midterms and 2016's Presidential election. For non-special, just plain regular run-of-the-mill Basic Events, ABC has promoted 20/20's David Muir.
And the crowd went meh.
Sawyer will finish her run at World News in late August.