In a shakeup at ABC News, David Muir will now lead breaking news coverage for the network, including nationally important news and special reports, alongside his continuing "World News Tonight" anchor duties, an individual with knowledge of the matter tells TheWrap.
ABC News declined to comment.
The shift comes following a huge year for Muir, who has anchored "World News Tonight" since 2014. For the last 5 years the show has been the most-watched newscast in America, and it was consistently the number one rated news program in the U.S. in 2020, driven by ABC News coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. "World News Tonight With David Muir" won the 2019-2020 season over its broadcast competitors in every major demo, including total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
Meanwhile George Stephanopoulos, anchor on "This Week" and "Good Morning America" will handle such items during the morning. Stephanopoulos was previously known as ABC News' chief anchor, but the specific title will no longer be used, though Muir will fulfill the duties described by that title.
Stephanopoulos previously served in the role Muir is taking over. Under the new arrangement, Stephanopoulos will be taking on new roles on the production side of things, which will include creating 4 hour-long specials that will air in primetime. He'll also be creating programming for Hulu and National Geographic, both of which are owned by ABC parent company Disney.
According to CNN, which first reported on the new arrangement, both Muir and Stephanopoulos have been signed to new long-term contracts in deals that eased apparent tensions over the changes.
The shakeup comes a month after it was announced that ABC News president James Goldston will step down March 31, ending a 17-year tenure with the network, 7 of which he served in his current role. Disney has not yet named his replacement.
ABC News saw layoffs said to be in the single digits at the end of 2020, as part of ongoing cuts across the Walt Disney Company caused by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.