Diane Sawyer Slips Quietly Into Evening News Slot
As ABC tries to avoid another Katie Couric
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2009 7:09 AM CST
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2008 file photo, television journalist Diane Sawyer attends the Friars Club Roast of "Today Show" host Matt Lauer in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)
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(Newser) – Diane Sawyer is taking a page from Katie Couric—on how not to debut as an evening news anchor. After Katie's much ballyhooed launch on CBS—and almost immediate crash in the ratings—ABC is using the opposite strategy, moving Sawyer in with no fanfare during one of the quietest weeks of the year. "I'm much more interested in what happens six months from now than what happens six days from now," the show's producer tells the Los Angeles Times.

Unlike Couric, "there's no sense she's going to be the savior of an ailing franchise," an analyst tells USA Today, adding that "the job isn't perceived to be as important as it was three years ago." While Sawyer is seen as a formidable talent, her "intense personality" could alienate viewers accustomed to the laid-back Charlie Gibson; Couric's Today regularly beat Sawyer's GMA in the mornings, the analyst notes. Gibson might boost the No. 2 newscast, but she also might help Couric.