Even though Diane Sawyer doesn’t have any immediate plans to retire from anchoring ABC’s World News, the respected journalist has been telling network executives that she doesn’t want George Stephanopoulos to get the gig, and has instead suggested the next anchor be David Muir, who already anchors the weekend edition, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
“Diane has been telling her bosses in the news division at ABC that George would be a terrible replacement for her when the time comes for her to hang it up. She doesn’t think viewers in primetime like his interviewing style, and the tone of his delivery. He can come across as very condescending,” a network source told Radar.
“The only suitable replacement in Diane’s opinion is David Muir. They are very close friends, and Diane has taken David under her wing, and truly mentored him. She has become one of his biggest champions and supporters. David has been the anchor of the weekend edition of World News, and he frequently substitutes for Diane. When George fills in for Diane, the ratings actually go down, and you can’t argue with the numbers.”
“He has made no secret that he no longer wants to do morning television. George wants to replace Diane Sawyer when she decides to hang it up, but who knows when that will be? His strengths are doing hard news, and has been extremely successful as the host of the ABC’s Sunday morning show, This Week,” a source previously told Radar.
“However, viewers also love George on GMA, and the news division doesn’t want to rock the boat with replacing him on the show. A huge portion of George’s contract talks will involve guarantees that he be the heir apparent to replace Diane.”
Viewers of the number one-rated morning news program were shocked on Monday when beloved weatherman Sam Champion announced that he was leaving ABC for The Weather Channel, which is owned by NBC Universal.
According to the latest Nielsen ratings, GMA continues to dominate the morning news rating race. For the week ending November 18, GMA beat TODAY by 662,000 viewers.
Radar’s sources are also “very surprised that all of the talents’ contracts were up at the same time. This should have been dealt with months ago. If this isn’t handled by ABC quickly, it could derail all of the hard work that it took to get to number one and maintain it.”