ABC News President David Westin announced that Charles Gibson has been named anchor of World News Tonight that will take effect on Monday, May 29. He will continue as a co-anchor of Good Morning America until June 30.
"Charlie Gibson is one of the most distinguished journalists on television. He is a superb broadcaster, the consummate professional and a very familiar presence to the audience and everyone at 'World News Tonight,'" said Mr. Westin.
"I am humbled to accept this new assignment. I have witnessed first hand the grace and determination of every member of the staff of 'World News Tonight.' I look forward to joining this extraordinary team and to helping the broadcast start a new chapter," said Mr. Gibson.
Mr. Westin continued: "Going forward, Elizabeth Vargas has asked that we limit her responsibilities to anchoring 20/20and special primetime hours. From the moment Peter became ill, no person in this organization has stepped up more than Elizabeth. I have nothing but respect, gratitude and admiration for the work she has done on our behalf, often times under enormously stressful conditions. Elizabeth is absolutely vital to the success and future of ABC News."
"David and I have been talking for some time about what would happen as my maternity leave approaches," said Ms. Vargas. "My doctors have asked that I cut back my schedule considerably. What works best for me and my family is to return in the fall to 20/20, as I raise my new baby and young son. I have loved every day I spent at World News Tonight and have endless respect for my colleagues there. This broadcast needs someone who can give 150 percent -- day in and day out. I am not in a position to give that right now, and it wouldn't be fair to do any less. In Charlie, this broadcast and news division has a wonderful and respected leader."
Mr. Westin added: "Charlie's taking over World News Tonight will give Bob Woodruff the extended period that he needs to recover and return to the air for ABC News. All of us look forward to that day, but it will be on Bob's timetable, not ours."
Bob Woodruff said, "Elizabeth and I set out on a great adventure this year, and I'm proud of what we accomplished. Elizabeth had to shoulder an enormous job when I was injured, and she did it with grace. Charlie Gibson is a mentor and a friend. I look forward to contributing to his broadcast as soon as I'm able."
Diane Sawyer, Mr. Gibson's co-anchor on Good Morning America, said: "I know Elizabeth will bring great reporting to primetime, as she always has, and Charlie will be wonderful on World News Tonight I will be watching him every night."
For the month of June, Mr. Gibson will work double-duty at both Good Morning America and World News Tonight. He will co-anchor Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts Monday-Wednesday each week, and anchor World News Tonight Monday-Thursday. Beginning in July he will anchor World News Tonight exclusively.
Mr. Gibson returned to Good Morning America to relaunch the broadcast with Diane Sawyer on January 18, 1999. He previously co-anchored the morning program from 1987 to 1998. In addition, he was also co-anchor of Primetime Thursday, now known as Primetime, and was a regular substitute anchor on World News Tonight.
On the political beat, Mr. Gibson has interviewed each of the last seven American presidents and has anchored many broadcasts from Republican and Democratic national conventions, as well as presidential inaugurations.
In February of 2003, he anchored Good Morning America from the Johnson Space Center in Houston to report on the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. Anchoring GMA on September 11, 2001, Mr. Gibson, along with Ms. Sawyer, began the network's award-winning coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center. For ABC News' first-anniversary coverage of September 11, Mr. Gibson interviewed Vice-President Dick Cheney about the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the decision to seek presidential authorization to shoot down aircraft over American soil. Mr. Gibson's hour-long "Moments of Crisis" report captured the many powerful memories of the day from those in the national leadership at the White House, the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. He also interviewed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a live historic broadcast from the Pentagon on September 9, 2002.
Mr. Gibson has interviewed leaders from around the globe, including Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, the late Yasir Arafat and Nelson Mandela. He traveled to Israel in April 2002 to cover the crisis of suicide bombings, and reported from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in October 2000 to cover the Middle East peace summit. Just hours after the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, Mr. Gibson conducted a live interview with widow Leah Rabin in her home in Tel Aviv. In April 1999, he reported from Macedonia's tent cities for refugees from Kosovo.
Mr. Gibson first became familiar to television viewers as a correspondent on ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, as an occasional substitute for Ted Koppel as anchor on Nightline, and as substitute anchor on World News This Morning.
He was chief correspondent at the House of Representatives for ABC News from 1981 to 1987. On general assignment for ABC News from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Gibson reported on a wide array of national news, including investigations of the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as economic stories. As a White House correspondent for ABC News from 1976 to 1977, he covered Gerald Ford's presidential campaign.