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It's official: George Stephanopoulos named new anchor of 'Good Morning America'

George Stephanopoulos, the onetime political whiz kid who served as a top advisor to former President Bill Clinton, will inherit Diane Sawyer’s seat on “Good Morning America” as the morning show undergoes its biggest makeover in a decade, the network announced today.

“I can't wait to join 'Good Morning America's' amazing team and serve its loyal viewers," Stephanopoulos said in a statement reported on ABCNews.com. "No one can replace Diane Sawyer, but I'll do everything I can to match her unquenchable curiosity and intense commitment to informing the country every morning. What an adventure.”

Stephanopoulos will join co-host Robin Roberts at the anchor desk Monday, the same day that correspondent Juju Chang replaces news anchor Chris Cuomo on the program. Cuomo, a contender for the anchor job who was passed over for Stephanopoulos, will move to the news magazine “20/20,” which he will co-anchor with Elizabeth Vargas, and get a larger reporting portfolio across the news division.

Stephanopoulos will continue anchoring the Sunday talk show “This Week” for the short term until a new host is named.

“In putting this new ‘GMA’ team together, we've pursued one goal: How can we best serve our audience? How can we bring them what matters most to them -- the day's important news, engaging stories, useful information, and real expertise to help them improve their lives?” ABC News President David Westin wrote in an e-mail to the staff. “Robin and George are the right pair to lead our effort. As we've seen over time, Robin brings a warmth and intelligence to the morning that no one can match. Hers is a practical curiosity that brings the viewers' questions to the fore. George complements Robin's strengths with a deep knowledge of and commitment to news about the nation and the world. George is a formidable interviewer who brings the viewer a deeper understanding of the great issues of the day through his conversations with experts and newsmakers.”

The cascade of changes -- triggered by Sawyer’s move to “World News,” where she will succeed Charles Gibson on Dec. 21 -- will upend four of ABC News’ major newscasts. The turnover will be especially drastic on the second-place “GMA,” a vital revenue generator for the entire division.

The selection of Stephanopoulos, a former White House aide who has anchored “This Week” since 2002, and Chang, one of ABC’s lesser-known correspondents, is a substantial gamble that will depend heavily on the chemistry of the show’s newly configured team, as of yet untested. In 2005, with Sawyer and Gibson at the helm, the program came close to catching up with the top-rated “Today” show. But NBC has since widened its advantage. This season, “Today” has been beating “GMA” by 1.3 million viewers on average, a 48% bigger margin than last season.

If the “GMA” audience does not embrace the new team and viewership in the key 25- to 54-year-old advertising demographic drops, the news division could be out many millions of dollars in ad revenue.

“What could happen at ABC News is that if this does not work, they will have a big challenge paying the bills,” said one network news veteran familiar with the economics of the news division.

The change was triggered by Gibson’s decision earlier this fall to retire. There was little question among network executives about who would replace him, as Sawyer, ABC’s biggest star, had long sought the position. But the network did not have an immediate plan about how to replace her on “GMA,” a source of substantial frustration inside the news division.

As the fall went on without a decision, antsy employees expressed bewilderment that executives did not have a succession plan in place, particularly since Sawyer’s assignment on the show had always technically been a temporary one. 

In putting the new “GMA” team on next week, a traditionally quiet period before the holidays, ABC is effectively doing a soft launch of the reconfigured program, a similar strategy that it is taking with Sawyer, who will begin anchoring “World News” right before Christmas.

-- Matea Gold

Photo: George Stephanopoulos. Credit: ABC


Diane Sawyer confirms this is her last week on "GMA"

Diane Sawyer anchors her status on ABC

Comments () | Archives (14)

I like George. He's down to earth and very knowledgeable about things that goes on in the world. I hope he brings to GMA the seriousness of news that all the morning shows are lacking. Morning news shows should not be a jerry Springer wannabe like NBC's Today show.

I hope they find someone good for This Week.

I was surprised and sorry to see George go for the GMA job. "This Week" is much more prestigious job, but perhaps he felt bottled up there. That is a job that, much like the other Sunday morning talk shows, a host could stay at for decades.

I have read that ABC may consider Terry Moran or Jake Tapper for "This Week". Snore. "This Week" needs a charismatic, strong host. Moran and Tapper are good correspondents, but hosts?

A fan of GMA for many years-my husband and I have breakfast and get dressed for work while watching- we'll be switching to Today. We were George fans while he was with Clinton, but his reporting during the current administration has been very biased. His back ground is too political to be seen as objective in the role of Host. Chris would have been a much better and far less disruptive choice. We will continue to watch Diane and wish her well in her new role.

I am glad GS is going to be in an influential position in the media, especially in a format that seems to be devoid of serious reporting. I will miss him on This Week, and I hope he can continue to do both jobs!

I will be switching to another morning show. Been a GMA fan since Hartman & London. George's backround in politics should have disqualified him for this position.

Diane Sawyer endorsed a book, along with CNN's Robin Meade, at missyjenkins.com. Missy is a paralyzed school shooting survivor, and the book - I Choose to be Happy - is incredible.

It's been a remarkable trip --- in so many ways. The show will be quite different --- but with the direction of Robin Roberts --- it will continue its succeed. While I very much enjoy George Stephanopoulos on This Week, I'm sure he will do well on what I prefer to call "America's Good Morning." Will miss Chris for now, but will enjoy the camaraderie of Robin and Sam --- whether or not. See ya, Diane, on the evening news.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make George Will the host of This Week. He would have amazing interviews with politicians.

SO sorry to see this show placing George in Diane Sawyer's place. many will change morning shows.

Will miss diane and chris. I knew that diane was leaving, but to have Chris leave is a big blow. I work day hours and tape every morning to watch when i go home. the team that GMA had was a perfect group to watch. Their chemistry was fun, exciting and interesting. Understanding GMA dianes departure but I hope the network knew what the did by passing up keeping Chris on. It will not be the same without them. Love Robin and Sam, but hope it is enough to keep me watching.

Bad Choice in choosing George over Chris. Good Decision to keep Chris within the ABC family. They kept Chris at ABC because they know George will not work and they have a back up of Chris.

Chris will be hosting GMA with Robin within the year. He was the natural choice and ABC messed up.

This is where he belongs. He was too cowardly to ask really tough questions of the politicians on his show, the kind of questions that the American people want answered. Doing fluff in the A.M. should suit him.

How can ABC do this to George? Perfect answer to the Qbama's hope for America team, ...young,handsome,intelligent.....George S. should leave ABc (little c) HE DOESNT belong on a gossip / enquirer magazine/ entertainment type morning show....What a Christmas present for Abc viewers?! BAH HUMBUG!!!!!
Anchor's desk was obvious next seat... I like Diane... but come on...Katie C. was a flop for CBS, soooooo go figure.

Rupert Murdoch said something recently about insiders in journalists winning lots of journalism awards but having forgot about providing a useful product to the people. With this thought in mind I look at ABC and I see just that. I also see a giant in dying stage of its business cycle.

The changes at ABC News don't really matter at all. World News is a pathetic newscast and a shadow of the once great World News Tonight as envisioned by Roone Arledge. That broadcast, that time, that ABC News was nothing less than spectacular. World News Tonight, Peter Jennings with the Foreign News in London, Max Robinson with National News in Chicago and reporting from Washington the late, great, Frank Reynolds. Back then Ted Koppel had a crisp and robust Nightline. GMA was headed by David Hartman and focused on news. This Week was in the hands of the venerable David Brinkley. 20/20 was perfectly suited for Hugh Downs and Barbara WaWa.

Today, we have have a dead World News lacking in objectivity and certainly failing to contain any leadership or vision. GMA is a complete joke with the tall Robin sitting next to short George. GMA is mostly entertainment and George can't perform worth a dime.

Diane moves to World News and it will be "All about Diane with some world news...."

ABC's lost and dying a slow, painful death. Say it isn't so Roone!


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