Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
ABC News president Ben Sherwood said during his division’s TCA session today that network newcomer and former CBS News anchor Katie Couric will not reprise her role as an anchor on ABC’s evening news. “You’ll see her showcased in all kinds of different ways, but she’s done the anchoring thing in the evening,” he said, nixing recent speculation of her coming in as a replacement anchor for the 6:30 PM newscast. (Couric’s rich deal with ABC for a syndicated daytime talk show includes an ABC News component.) “You’ll see her in the morning. You’ll see her all over the place.” After the session, Sherwood went on defense about Couric’s demise in the CBS News anchor chair. “I don’t think the viewers have rejected her,” he said. “It’s not about rejection. It’s about what she wants to do.” Speaking of anchors, Sherwood said during the session that the network hopes former anchor Charles Gibson will return in some capacity. “You heard his voice on ABC News over the weekend on This Week: he introduced George Stephanopoulos,” he said. “We hope in time we’ll get Charlie back on the air.”
Following ABC’s coverage of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire last night, Sherwood found himself answering more queries about the network’s plans for its news anchors than about its 2012 election coverage. The executive was peppered with questions about Stephanopoulos, last night’s debate anchor with Diane Sawyer. Along with his duties as anchor of Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos returned Sunday as host of This Week, replacing Christiane Amanpour. Is the anchor being spread too thin? “George Stephanopoulos is a machine,” Sherwood said. “Left to his own devices, he would work seven days a week, nonstop. He is totally fired up by this challenge on Sunday morning. We are going to be very wise about making sure we don’t push it too far.”
Sherwood also addressed Amanpour’s continuing role on ABC after her December decision to leave This Week to become a roving Global Affairs anchor. “She had one of the greatest years of her career last year,” he said, saying that the network wanted her to be deployed “in her best areas of expertise. She will lead the charge; she will be on all of our programs.” He added that Amanpour would be doing a “bunch of specials” for ABC while continuing to do an international program for CNN. “It’s a unique arrangement, the best of both worlds,” he said.