This image released by ABC News shows, from left, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and ABC News President James Goldston on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in New York. Sawyer is stepping down as its evening news anchor, to be replaced by David Muir. The network said Sawyer will concentrate on interviews and specials. During her tenure, ABC’s “World News” was a steady second to Brian Williams at NBC, although the ABC broadcast has made gains among younger viewers. ABC said George Stephanopoulos will take on a new role as chief anchor for live news events. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)
This image released by ABC News shows, from left, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and ABC News President James Goldston on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in New York.  Sawyer is stepping down as its evening news anchor, to be replaced by David Muir. The network said Sawyer will concentrate on interviews and specials. During her tenure, ABC’s “World News” was a steady second to Brian Williams at NBC, although the ABC broadcast has made gains among younger viewers. ABC said George Stephanopoulos will take on a new role as chief anchor for live news events. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)
This image released by ABC News shows, from left, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and ABC News President James Goldston on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)

Paul Farhi, THE WASHINGTON POST

NEW YORK (The Washington Post)—Diane Sawyer will step down as anchor of ABC News’ flagship broadcast, “World News Tonight,” at the end of the year and will be replaced by correspondent and anchor David Muir, the network said Wednesday.

“Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos, a top contender to replace Sawyer, will add a new title, chief anchor, and handle special reports and breaking news.

Sawyer will create original programs and conduct major interviews for the Disney-owned network, in effect succeeding former ABC anchor Barbara Walters, who retired in May, as a kind of emeritus anchor and network news personality. Sawyer, who has worked for ABC News for nearly 25 years, has been behind the evening news desk of “World News” since 2009. She succeeded Charles Gibson; Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff co-anchored before he took over. Peter Jennings hosted the show for two decades until 2005.

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