ABC/Disney TV president Anne Sweeney has made an offer to ABC’s chief political correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, to take over the anchor chair that Diane Sawyer will leave empty when she departs Good Morning America for the network’s evening World News program. Both Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post and Chris Ariens at TVNewser report that the deal is somewhat complicated, not a definite, and based on varying preferences on each side: Stephanopoulos hopes to be able to continue to host This Week, his Sunday political show, an aim which many at ABC think is unrealistic. Also, he would like the role to better reflect his political and news interests, and to skew away from much of the fluff in which Sawyer gamely participated.
There’s also the fact that Stephanopoulos has lived and been a player in Washington, D.C., for over a decade, since he arrived there alongside Bill Clinton as a campaign staffer in 1992. A former communications director for Clinton, Stephanopoulos has long been near the heart of media and politics, and his desire to keep at least his toes in the thick of it through The Week could reflect reluctance to leave Washington as a whole. With his two daughters settled there, there may be a significant amount of inertia keeping him in place.
“We’ve made our timetable clear from the start, that this would be a four-month process,” ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told Kurtz. “We’re still in that process, and we’ll make an announcement as soon as we can.” Meanwhile, Sawyer will take over for Charlie Gibson and start her own new gig on December 21.
ABC offers morning show to Stephanopoulos, sources say [WP]
George Stephanopoulos Offered ‘Good Morning America’ Job [TVNewser/Mediabistro]