News from the world tonight anchor David Muir began directing major special events coverage and broadcasting on ABC News, as the network gradually removed the title of “chief presenter” that had been given to Hello america co-presenter George Stephanopoulos.
The change began last month with Muir leading a special report on the White House ceremony marking the deaths of 500,000 Americans from Covid-19.
Muir was the anchor of News from the world tonight since 2014, and news has risen to the top of ratings since then. During the coronavirus pandemic, it has at times exceeded the viewership of all of the week’s TV shows.
So far, ABC News has had an unusual arrangement in that its evening news anchor has not been the figure to direct the coverage of major events. With the title of chief presenter, Stephanopoulos took on these duties, the most important coverage of the inauguration and the coverage of election night, when Muir joined him with Linsey Davis of ABC News Live.
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Two years ago, according to a source familiar with the matter, ABC News executives asked Muir to take over the lead role for breaking news and special events. But it was a sticky situation as the network wanted to keep the two anchors happy, and the decision was made that the transition after the election.
Stephanopoulos will continue to anchor the latest news in the morning as Hello america co-anchor, and CNN and Variety announced that he would work on prime-time specials and new shows for the Walt Disney Co platforms. According to CNN, the situation has become particularly tense and Disney executive chairman Bob Iger has acted in as a broker, which resulted in an extended contract for Stephanopoulos.
ABC News representatives declined to comment. When Diane Sawyer resigned as News from the world tonight anchor and Muir, who had risen to the network as an anchor for the weekend and for her reporting on war zones and during natural disasters, was chosen to replace her. Stephanopoulos, co-presenter of GMA for five years as well as that of Sunday morning This week, received the title of chief anchor.
In January, James Goldston, chairman of ABC News, announced it was coming out at the end of March.