World News with Charles Gibson

World News with Charles Gibson

Infobox Television
show_name = World News with Charles Gibson

show_name_2 ="John Charles Daly and the News"
"ABC Evening News"
"Peter Jennings with the News"
"World News Tonight"
"World News" (weekend broadcasts)
format = News
runtime = 30 minutes
picture_format = 480i (SDTV),
720p (HDTV) []
creator = Roone Arledge
starring = Charles Gibson
Elizabeth Vargas
Bob Woodruff
Peter Jennings
(1965–1967 and 1978–2005)
Max Robinson
Frank Reynolds
(1968-1970, 1978-1983)
Barbara Walters
Harry Reasoner
Howard K. Smith
Bob Young
David Muir
World News Saturday Dan Harris
World News Sunday
country = USA
network = ABC
num_episodes = 15,722 (as of January 17, 2008)
first_aired = 1953 (as "John Charles Daly and the News")
July 10, 1978 (under "World News" format)
last_aired = present
website =
imdb_id = 0184090
tv_com_id = 29951

"World News with Charles Gibson" (previously known as "World News Tonight", often called "ABC World News Tonight", also often abbreviated as "WNT", and known as "World News" on weekend editions) is the flagship news program of the American Broadcasting Company in the United States. Currently, the weekday editions are hosted by Charles Gibson, Saturdays by David Muir, and Sundays by Dan Harris.


Early years, 1953-1978

ABC first began a nightly newscast in fall 1953 with John Charles Daly as anchor of the then-15-minute "John Charles Daly and the News". Daly, who also hosted the CBS game show "What's My Line?" contemporaneously, anchored the news until 1960 with multiple hosts and formats succeeding him. Anchors during the early 1960s included John Cameron Swayze (formerly of NBC), Howard K. Smith, Bill Lawrence, Bill Shadel, Fendall Winston Yerxa, Bill Sheehan and Edward P. Morgan. This lasted until 1962, when Ron Cochran was made full-time anchor, serving until 1964. Then, in 1965, a 26-year-old Canadian, Peter Jennings, was named anchor of "Peter Jennings with the News".

In 1967, the inexperienced Jennings left the anchor chair and was reassigned as an international correspondent for the news program. "ABC News" was hosted, in succession, by Bob Young (October 1967 to May 1968), Frank Reynolds (May 1968 to May 1969), and, eventually, Reynolds and Howard K. Smith (May 1969 to December 1970). The program did not expand from 15 to 30 minutes until 1968, some years after CBS and NBC had expanded their evening news programs.

Reasoner, Smith, and Walters

Harry Reasoner, formerly of CBS News and "60 Minutes", joined ABC in 1970 to co-anchor "ABC Evening News" with Smith, beginning in December, replacing Reynolds. In 1976, Smith was moved to commentator, and Reasoner briefly assumed sole anchor responsibilities until his pairing with Barbara Walters, the first female network anchor, this pairing began in 1976. Ratings for the nightly news broadcast declined shortly thereafter, possibly due in part to the lack of chemistry between Reasoner and Walters. Reasoner would eventually return to CBS and "60 Minutes", while Walters became a regular on the newsmagazine "20/20".

"First News" strategy, 1960s-1980s

Because ABC had nowhere near the number of affiliates as the other two major networks and, thus, especially in smaller markets, was often carried by a station primarily affiliated with another network, ABC chose to feed its evening newscast to its affiliates at 6 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Central, one half-hour ahead of CBS and NBC. Even in areas with three full-time affiliates, ABC stations often opted to broadcast the news at 6/5 in order to entice viewers by presenting the day's national and international news first, thus making it more likely that they would stay tuned to the station's local newscast immediately following (or a half hour afterward), instead of turning to CBS or NBC. In some markets, especially in the Eastern time zone, it was not unusual for the ABC affiliate to air its local newscast at 5:30, followed by the network news at 6, then syndicated sitcom reruns or game shows from 6:30 to 7:30 (or 8, after the Prime Time Access Rule went into effect in 1971).

As the youngest and least-viewed of the networks, ABC employed the strategy to get a foothold on the American public's consciousness, although stations were quite free to tape-delay the feed in order to run it against the other two networks, or, in some larger markets especially, at 7/6 p.m. Eventually, though, by the 1980s, when all markets obtained full-time ABC affiliates and the evening newscast began winning the ratings, the network discontinued the practice and started feeding the news to stations at the conventional time of 6:30 (Eastern/Pacific)/5:30 (Central/Mountain).

"World News Tonight": The early years 1978-1983

Always the perennial third in the national ratings, ABC News president Roone Arledge reformatted the program, relaunching it as "World News Tonight" on July 10, 1978. Frank Reynolds, demoted when the network hired Reasoner, returned as lead anchor, reporting from Washington, D.C. Max Robinson, the first African American network news anchor, anchored national news from Chicago, and, also returning for a second stint, Jennings, reporting international headlines from London. Occasional contributions included special reports by Barbara Walters who was credited as anchor of the special coverage desk from New York and world wide and commentary by Howard K. Smith, who was easing into eventual retirement. The program’s distinct and easily identifiable theme was written by Bob Israel. Ratings slowly climbed to the point where "World News Tonight" eventually beat both "NBC Nightly News" and the "CBS Evening News," marking the first time ever that ABC had the most popular network evening newscast.

Also during this time, "WNT" aired an open-captioned version on various public television stations throughout the United States. In place of commercials, PBS inserted additional news stories, some of which were of special interest to deaf people. This version aired mostly in late-night hours, several hours after the original newscast.

"World News Tonight with Peter Jennings": 1983-2005

In April 1983, Frank Reynolds became ill, leaving both Jennings and Robinson to co-anchor the broadcast until he planned to return; he never did and succumbed to bone cancer on July 20. A rotation of anchors hosted the program until August 9, 1983, when Peter Jennings became the sole anchor and senior editor of "World News Tonight". In September 1984, the program was renamed "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" in order to reflect its sole anchor and senior editor. Robinson left ABC News in 1984, after stints of hosting news briefs and anchoring weekend editions of "World News Tonight"; he died of AIDS in 1988.

With Jennings as lead anchor, "World News Tonight" was the most-watched national newscast from February 27, 1989 to November 1,1996, but since then and until February 2007, it has been in second place behind its main rival, "NBC Nightly News".

On April 5, 2005 Jennings announced that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and, as before, other ABC News anchors, mostly consisting of "20/20" co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas and "Good Morning America" co-anchor Charles Gibson, filled in for him. Jennings died of lung cancer on August 7, 2005, at his apartment in New York City at the age of 67.

The August 8, 2005 edition of the program was dedicated to Jennings' memory and four-decade career in news. His death then ended the era of the so-called "Big Three" anchors: Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather. During his career, Jennings had reported from every major world capital and war zone, and from all 50 U.S. states, according to the network. The Jennings era was known for his ability to calmly portray events as they were happening. He was known for his coverage of many major world events.

"World News Tonight with Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff": January 2006-May 2006

On December 5, 2005, ABC announced Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff would be the new permanent co-anchors starting January 3, 2006, replacing Jennings. People in the news industry looked at the choice of Vargas and Woodruff by ABC News as the start of a new era in network television news.

The broadcast was produced live three times per day: the regular Eastern/Central Time zone live broadcast, plus separate broadcasts for the Mountain and Pacific time zones. In addition, a live webcast, "World News Now", with a newsbrief and a preview of that evening's broadcast, was added. The webcast currently airs live at 3 p.m. ET on ABC News Now and and can be viewed throughout the rest of the day after 4 p.m. Eastern.

On January 29, 2006, Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, were injured by a road-side bomb while riding in an Iraqi military convoy. Both underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Balad (50 miles north of Baghdad). It was reported that both men suffered head injuries, even though they were both wearing body armor and helmets. Both men were evacuated to a U.S military hospital in Germany on January 30, 2006. Woodruff and Vogt were later transferred to Bethesda Naval Hospital in the U.S. for further treatment and released for outpatient treatment.

On February 10, 2006 ABC announced that Elizabeth Vargas was pregnant and due to give birth in late summer.

For about a month, "Good Morning America" co-hosts Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer had taken turns co-anchoring the newscast with Elizabeth Vargas. From about March 2006 to May 2006, Elizabeth Vargas had been anchoring the broadcast alone, becoming the first "de facto" solo female evening news solo anchor. At the time, it was unknown what ABC News planned to do until Bob Woodruff returned to the anchor chair, which appeared to be nowhere in the near future, and when Vargas began her maternity leave. Rumors flew that Diane Sawyer wanted to become the sole anchor of "WNT" in order to beat Katie Couric's switch to the CBS anchor chair. [ [ would Diane take over WNT] ] However, the New York Post's Cindy Adams reported that Charles Gibson would become Bob Woodruff's "Temporary Permanent Replacement". [ [ TVNewser ] ]

Starting around March 2006, the West Coast editions of "WNT" were scaled back due to the fact that Elizabeth Vargas anchored the broadcast on her own at the time. [ [,1,1596.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews] ]

"World News with Charles Gibson": May 29, 2006-present

On May 23, 2006, Elizabeth Vargas announced her resignation from "World News Tonight". Charles Gibson was then named sole anchor of the show, effective May 29, 2006, effectively replacing Vargas and her injured co-anchor Bob Woodruff. [ [] ] Vargas cited her doctors' recommendation to cut back her schedule considerably due to her maternity leave, and her wish to spend more time with her new baby. She has since returned to co-anchor "20/20" and ABC News specials, and has already substituted for Gibson on "World News".

Bob Woodruff, although still recovering from his injuries, returned to "WNT" on February 28, 2007. [ [,0,4657972.story?coll=zap-tv-headlines] ]

While the 3 p.m. "World News Now" webcast remains, the West Coast editions have been scrapped. Gibson will continue to update the newscast as warranted for the other time zones, but the entire newscast will not be presented live, as was previously the case.

Some media analysts found the reasons for the change to be merely a cover for ABC News' real intentions to bring stability to its flagship news program that had been slipping in the ratings, and to attract some older viewers away from the "CBS Evening News" with interim anchor Bob Schieffer. [ [] ] [ [] ] Indeed, the advertising campaign focuses on Gibson's experience, calling Gibson "Your Trusted Source", similar to a campaign for Peter Jennings, "Trust is Earned", in the wake of the Killian documents scandal at CBS and Brian Williams' assumption of the NBC anchor chair. [ [ Gibson: Your Trusted Source] ]

On July 19, 2006, ABC News announced that "World News Tonight" would have its name officially changed to "World News With Charles Gibson". [ [] ] The network chose to make the small name change in order to reflect the program's availability twenty-four hours a day through its webcast and through

In the 2007 February sweeps, "World News with Charles Gibson" achieved the number one spot in the Nielsen ratings for nightly news broadcasts, overtaking "NBC Nightly News". This was ABC's first victory since the week Peter Jennings died in August 2005 and the first time since 1996. [ [] ]

Starting in April 2007, Charles Gibson announced that Monday broadcasts of "World News" would be expanded editions allowing only one commercial interruption to feature extended special segments on global warming. Jon Banner is currently the show's executive producer.

ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson" won the May sweeps period decisively over "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams", marking Gibson's second consecutive sweep win and widening his lead in the evening news race. It's the first time "World News" has won consecutive sweeps since 1996, the year ABC's Peter Jennings ceded the ratings crown to NBC's Tom Brokaw.


On December 31, 2007, "World News with Charles Gibson" debuted a new HD ready set, featuring the ABC News logo prominently carved out of wood in front with logo's colors, a rear-projection screen, and plasma screens. The show has also updated the graphics to prepare for the HD completion which was completed in early 2008.

ABC World News began broadcasting in High Definition on August 25, 2008 during its coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. They follow in the footsteps of NBC Nightly News and the CBS Evening News in doing so. []


"WNT" expanded to six nights a week with "World News Sunday" on January 28, 1979, and to a full seven days with the premiere of "World News Saturday" on January 5, 1985, years after the two other historical networks had added weekend newscasts.

These editions added the word "Tonight" in the mid-1990s, and in the mid-2000s, their respective names were shortened to simply "World News Tonight" to correspond with the weekday editions. However, the original names were restored on July 19, 2006 to go along with the weekday broadcast's name change, but the title card reads "World News" for both days.

Prior to 1979, the only network newscasts ABC stations broadcasted on weekends were 15-minute late-night updates on Saturdays and Sundays, seen on many affiliates in tandem with the local 11 p.m./10 p.m. Central newscasts, although some stations opted to tape delay them until immediately before sign-off time; rival CBS also offered a 15-minute Sunday night bulletin during the 1970s and 1980s. Due to declining affiliate interest because of low viewership, ABC discontinued the late-night weekend reports in 1991.

Also, starting in 1973, weeknight co-anchor Harry Reasoner hosted "The Reasoner Report," a half-hour topical look at important stories (especially breaking developments in the Watergate scandal) in the vein of CBS' "60 Minutes", which Reasoner himself co-moderated on two different stints. Affiliates usually carried the program on Saturday evenings in the time slots where the main newscast aired on weeknights. The program ended in 1975.

Some former anchors of the weekend news include Sam Donaldson from 1979 to 1989, Kathleen Sullivan from 1985-1987. Carole Simpson from 1988-2003, Elizabeth Vargas and Aaron Brown in the mid-1990s, Terry Moran from 2001-2005, and Bob Woodruff from 2003-2005. Currently, David Muir is the Saturday edition anchor and Dan Harris is the Sunday edition anchor.

During the fall months, the Saturday broadcast is usually pre-empted by ESPN on ABC's college football coverage.

International broadcasts

ABC News programming is shown for several hours a day on the 24-hour news network Orbit News in Europe and the Middle East. This includes "ABC World News". Also in the Middle East it is also broadcast free to air on MBC 4. In the UK, the program is shown at 1:30am on BBC News. BBC News is frequently simulcast by BBC Two (and, less frequently, BBC One) at this time, meaning the program is broadcast terrestrially in many parts of the UK. The newscast airs on delay in part because of the need to remove advertisements; the BBC's domestic channels are commercial-free. In Australia, "WNT" airs every morning at 10:30am AET on Sky News Australia. In New Zealand, "WNT" is shown at 17:10 and 23:35 every evening on TVNZ 7. In Hong Kong, it is broadcast live on TVB Pearl daily at 7:30-8:00am Hong Kong time. In Japan it airs on NHK. Belize's Great Belize Television carries all editions of "World News Tonight" at 7:30 p.m. CST (Mon.-Fri.), 7:00 p.m. (Saturdays) and 7:30 p.m. (Sundays).

ee also

* ABC News



* [ ABC News themes]

External links

* [ ABC World News With Charles Gibson official website]
*imdb title|title=ABC Evening News/World News Tonight/World News|id=0184090
* [ Network News Music: ABC]

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