Diane Sawyer leaving ‘ABC World News,’ David Muir taking over

ABC News is shuffling its on-air anchor talent, promoting David Muir as anchor of its nightly news broadcast, ABC World News. Diane Sawyer will be leaving the desk to do primetime specials.

Muir has been the permanent weekend anchor for World News since 2011. He will take over World News during the week on Sept. 2 and will also act as managing editor. He will remain co-anchor of 20/20 with Elizabeth Vargas, but is leaving World News’ weekend edition.

In addition, Good Morning America and This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos will become ABC News Chief Anchor. He will also lead ABC News’ election coverage.

“George skillfully navigates uncertain and unfolding situations. He is adept at balancing both complex global and public policy questions and deeply personal and emotional stories,” ABC News president James Goldston said. He later added, “The news division simply could not be in stronger hands with George in this new and vital role.”

“On this incredibly humbling day, I think of the 12-year-old boy with a dream of being a reporter and seeing the world. I never could have imagined seeing that world with Diane Sawyer,” Muir said in a statement. “On this day I thank her for not only setting the bar for the rest of us, but for being a trusted friend. I cannot wait to begin this new adventure with Diane and with George, whose political brain power and endless curiosity inspire me, and drive us all to be better every day.”

Sawyer will essentially replace Barbara Walters as the host of the frequent specials that Walters would typically do, notes TVNewser. The site reports that Sawyer actually started talking with former ABC News chief Ben Sherwood about leaving World News. (Sherwood will soon be the president of the Disney/ABC Television group.)

The news follows Walters’ decision to retire. She is still occasionally doing interviews, including Santa barbara shooter Elliot Rodger’s father, which will air on Friday.

image courtesy of Walter McBride/INFphoto.com

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