SAWYER TO REPLACE GIBSON AS ABC ANCHOR

Charles Gibson will step down as anchor of ABC's World News in January and be replaced by his onetime Good Morning America and Primetime co-host Diane Sawyer, ABC News President David Westin announced today (Wednesday). In a message to colleagues, Gibson said that he had planned to step down in 2007. "But with Peter [Jennings's] illness, Bob [Woodruff's] injuries, and Elizabeth [Vargas's] pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006, and David asked me to step in as anchor. It was an honor to do so." Gibson said that he hoped to be able to contribute "occasionally" to ABC News in the future, "and we will be discussing what that role might be." In a separate statement, Westin said, "Diane Sawyer is the right person to succeed Charlie and build on what he has accomplished." Westin did not indicate who will replace her on Good Morning America or even whether she will be leaving GMA at the same time she takes over the evening newscast. (For a time following Jennings's death she and Gibson alternated as news anchors.) Sawyer did not immediately issue a statement. She has repeatedly denied reports that she lobbied for the anchor post following Jennings's death and was infuriated when she was passed over.

SONY TO INTRODUCE 3D TV SETS

Sony plans to announce next week that it will introduce a 3D television set sometime next year, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported today (Wednesday), citing persons familiar with the matter. Details were sketchy, but both financial newspapers indicated that Sony plans to disclose its 3D plans at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. The WSJ noted that Sony hopes the 3D sets will enable its TV unit to dig itself out from under five straight years of losses. The FT quoted from the address Sony chief Howard Stringer is expected to make at the show: "The 3D train is on the track and we at Sony are ready to drive it home."

AFGHAN WHO TARGETED CBS REPORTER MAY HAVE HAD GOVERNMENT TIES

One of three men detained by the U.S. military in connection with the roadside bombing in Kabul in which CBS News correspondent Cami McCormick was seriously injured had a telephone number for an office in the Afghan Defense Ministry, CBS correspondent David Martin reported Tuesday. He noted that shortly after the three suspects were taken into custody an Afghan official intervened on their behalf, claiming that they were not involved. However, Martin said, investigators had already gathered substantial evidence against the men, including fingerprints and residue from the explosion on at least one of them. One soldier was killed in the bombing; McCormick suffered broken arms, legs and other injuries, and two other troops received minor wounds.

EVEN WITH TOP THREE SHOWS, NBC CAN'T BEAT CBS

NBC took the top three spots in the Nielsen ratings last week, with two episodes of America's Got Talent, followed by pre-season football. But it was all CBS after that among the top ten as the network remained the most-watched network for the 12th time in the 14 weeks of the summer season. (If cable broadcasts were included in the rankings, Disney Channel's The Wizards of Waverly Place would have ranked second with 11.4 million viewers, a tad below the Tuesday edition of America's Got Talent, which recorded 11.5 million viewers and a tad above the Wednesday edition of the talent show, which drew 11.2 million.) For the week, CBS averaged a 4.3 rating and an 8 share (4.91 million viewers); NBC followed with a 4.1/7 (4.72 million); Fox placed third with a 2.9/5 (3.35 million); while ABC trailed with a 2.5/4 (28.60 million). Among the nightly newscasts, NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams continued to lead with 7.86 million viewers; ABC World News With Charles Gibson ranked second with 7.08 million; The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric remained far behind with 5.38 million viewers.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 6.9/11; 2. America's Got Talent (Wednesday 9:00 p.m.), NBC, 6.9/11; 3. NFL Pre-Season Football, NBC, 6.5/11; 4. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.4/12; 4. (Tie) NCIS, CBS, 6.4/11; 6. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.2/10; 7. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 5.5/9; 7. (Tie) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 5.5/9; 7. (Tie) The Mentalist (Thursday), CBS, 5.5/10; 10. The Mentalist (Tuesday), CBS, 5.1/9.

BIG BANG MAKES MUCH NOISE

Summertime reruns of CBS's The Big Bang Theory on Monday night appear to be turning the comedy into a bona fide hit. Paired with the CBS hit Two and a Half Men on Mondays, the show's ratings have been rising steadily -- up more than 50 percent from last summer. And this week, it pulled ahead of Two and a Half Men among viewers 18-49 and came close to doing so among total viewers as well. Men captured 8.3 million viewers; Theory, 8.1 million.

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