Gibson Takes Over 'World News Tonight'
Vargas leaving ABC newscast, will stay with '20/20'
Charles Gibson, a co-anchor of "Good Morning America" and a regular substitute anchor on "World News Tonight," will take the evening job starting next week. He'll stay on at "GMA" through June, then settle into a full-time slot at "World News Tonight."
He takes over for Elizabeth Vargas, who became co-anchor of "World News Tonight" in January (with Bob Woodruff) but is soon scheduled to go on maternity leave. She'll remain with ABC, returning as an anchor of "20/20" in the fall and hosting prime-time news specials.
"Charlie Gibson is one of the most distinguished journalists on television," ABC News President David Westin says. "He is a superb broadcaster, the consummate professional and a very familiar presence to the audience and everyone at 'World News Tonight.'"
The 63-year-old Gibson has co-anchored "Good Morning America" with Diane Sawyer for the past seven years. He's a 30-year employee of ABC News, covering Congress and the White House before his first stint at "GMA" in the late 1980s. He's also co-hosted the newsmagazine "Primetime" and been a regular fill-in anchor on "World News Tonight" and "Nightline."
"I am humbled to accept this new assignment. I have witnessed firsthand the grace and determination of every member of the staff of 'World News Tonight,'" Gibson says. "I look forward to joining this extraordinary team and to helping the broadcast start a new chapter."
The switch in anchors comes on the heels of "World News Tonight" falling into third place, behind NBC and CBS, among the network evening newscasts last week. It was the first time that's happened in close to five years.
Since Jennings died last August, the "World News Tonight" anchor position has been in flux. Westin named Woodruff and Vargas co-anchors of the broadcast late last year, promising a daily webcast and an updated version of the show for West Coast viewers.
Not long after the duo took over, though, Woodruff was badly injured when a U.S. military unit he was traveling with in Iraq was attacked. He's made steady recovery since the January incident, but there's no timetable for his return to ABC.
ABC hasn't said who will take Gibson's place on "Good Morning America" when he shifts to the nightly newscast.