Tonight, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer signed off for the last time as anchor of World News, wrapping her five-year tenure on the program. ABC News noted this morning that she took the newscast to back-to-back sweep wins in the news demo — in May and July — for the first time in seven years. The show ranked No. 1 in the news demo for her final full week.
In June, ABC News announced that Sawyer has “decided to step aside from anchoring a daily program to concentrate full time on new programming.” Sawyer’s roles were split between David Muir and George Stephanopoulos, with Muir taking the evening newscast lead and Stephanopoulos in the anchor chair when there is major breaking news to report and for special reports. ABC News already had re-upped Stephanopoulos’ contract as part of a push to get everyone at Good Morning America locked in; Sawyers’ contract and Muir’s also were set to run out this year.
Sawyer’s nearly five years at the anchor desk is one of ABC News’ longer tenures of late; she’d been in the chair since December 21, 2009, replacing Charlie Gibson, who took over in May 2006. He followed a brief experiment at a return to a co-anchor setup (an arrangement Barbara Walters famously struck out with in the late ’70s) with Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas that ran from January to May 2006. They’d replaced Peter Jennings, whose long run extended from September 1983 until April 2005.