Christiane Amanpour out, George Stephanopoulos in at 'This Week'
George Stephanopoulos, Amanpour's predecessor, will return to host the No. 3-rated Sunday morning politics show. Amanpour, meanwhile, will divide her time as a reporter for ABC and her former employer, CNN. Stephanopoulos will officially return Jan. 8.
"This is an exciting and unique opportunity for me to take my love of storytelling to primetime at ABC News with multiple specials, as well as becoming a roving global affairs anchor across all ABC platforms," Amanpour, who took over "This Week" in August 2010, wrote in a statement supplied by ABC News.
Although celebrated as a war correspondent and international-affairs reporter, Amanpour was considered an awkward fit on "This Week," which like rivals "Meet the Press" on NBC and "Face the Nation" on CBS subsists mainly on the weekly rough-and-tumble of American politics. Ratings have dwindled in recent months; when Stephanopolous helmed the program, "This Week" sometimes threatened longtime leader "Meet the Press."
Sitting in a studio and grilling Beltway pundits on, say, Herman Cain's alleged affairs squared with neither Amanpour's cosmopolitan perspective nor her globetrotting style.
Amanpour alluded to as much in her statement: "I am looking forward to getting back into the field to report stories on global issues that matter greatly to the American people. At the same time, I will be broadcasting once again to hundreds of millions of people across the world with a weekday show on CNN International."
For Stephanopoulos, the move will mean a lot more work piled on top of an already demanding schedule. ABC moved him to "GMA" in 2009 after Diane Sawyer took over "World News." It's likely that Jake Tapper and other ABC correspondents will frequently fill in for Stephanopoulos on the Sunday show.
For the week of Dec. 4, "Face the Nation" led with 3.3 million total viewers, trailed by "Meet the Press" (3 million) and "This Week" (2.3 million), according to Nielsen.
-Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)
Photo: Christiane Amanpour is leaving ABC's "This Week." Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.