Gibson’s Name Added to ‘World News’ Title

Jul 19, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC ‘World News With Charles Gibson’ executive producer Jon Banner said dropping the word “Evening” from the 6:30 p.m. news broadcast is “an acknowledgement of what we’ve doing for the last six months” in terms of the mid-afternoon webcast and the program’s ongoing blog.

“The name has caught up to the effort we put into it,” Mr. Banner said via satellite from Cyprus with anchor Charles Gibson. Mr. Banner and Mr. Gibson were speaking Wednesday with print reporters attending the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

The recently arrived Mr. Gibson, who took over anchor duties from Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas, “has provided stability and momentum” to the news program, Mr. Banner said. “It’s only right the broadcast bears his name.”

Mr. Gibson will stay in the anchor’s chair “till they kick me out, I guess,” he joked, adding that his contract goes through at least the 2008 elections.

Becoming anchor on a temporary basis, as ABC News President David Westin first suggested to Mr. Gibson last year, was never of interest to him, he said.

“I said ‘Honestly, David, if people know when you are going to get out of the chair, then you are never really going to have the job,'” Mr. Gibson said. “We agreed to disagree.”

With Ms. Vargas’ pregnancy and Mr. Woodruff’s serious injury in Iraq in January, circumstances gave him the chance to anchor on a permanent basis, Mr. Gibson said.

“I don’t want to get Boy Scout-y, but it’s a real honor,” he said.

Following up on a promise he made to CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus and incoming CBS news anchor Katie Couric at the CBS TCA event last Sunday, a critic asked Mr. Gibson what he plans to wear on air in the fall.

“I have four ties and five suits,” he said of his closet contents. “Whichever one is on the right, I put on.”

The ascension of Ms. Couric at CBS and the change at ABC with Mr. Gibson is good for the network news business, Mr. Banner said.

“Competition has always helped evening news,” he said. “It will help all of us again. The renewed focus makes all those questions about the vitality of evening news disappear.”

One critic asked Mr. Gibson about former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel’s comments at his Discovery Channel TCA session last week, in which Mr. Koppel chastised all the network news divisions for not having a bureau in India and for being too reactive to covering international events.

“Ted’s not wrong,” Mr. Gibson said, before deferring to Mr. Banner, who pointed out ABC News recently did a weeklong series on India and that the country is a regular stop for ABC foreign correspondents. Mr. Banner also noted the air travel and satellite feeds have made the world much smaller.

Before the satellite feed from Cyprus began, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said former evening news co-anchor Bob Woodruff, who was injured in Iraq in January, is “recovering rather miraculously.”

“I can’t say when he will be back full-time,” Mr. Schneider said, but noted Mr. Woodruff has been in the newsroom twice during the past week to watch the taping of the newscast.