ABC first began a nightly newscast in the Fall 1953 with John Charles Daly as anchor of the then 15-minute ABC Evening News. Daly anchored the news until 1960 with multiple hosts and formats succeeding him. Hosts during the early 1960's included John Cameron Swayze, Howard K. Smith, Bill Lawrence, Bill Shadel, Fendal Yerxa, Bill Sheehan and Edward P. Morgan. This lasted until 1962 when Ron Cochran was made full-time anchor until 1964. Then in 1965 a 26-year-old Peter Jennings was named anchor of Peter Jennings with the News. It was also during this time the program expanded from 15 to 30 minutes. In 1967, Jennings left the anchor chair and was reassigned as an international correspondent for the news program. ABC News was hosted 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). Smith and Harry Reasoner, formerly of CBS News and 60 Minutes, co-anchored ABC Evening News beginning in December 1970. In 1975, Reasoner assumed sole anchor responsibilities until his pairing in 1976 with Barbara Walters, the first female network anchor. Ratings for the nightly news broadcast declined shortly thereafter, possibly due in part to the lack of chemistry between Reasoner and Walters. 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 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, was Jennings, reporting international headlines from London. Occasional contributions included special reports by Barbara Walters and commentary by Howard K. Smith. 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
. In April 1983, Frank Reynolds became ill leaving Jennings and Robinson to co-anchor the broadcast until his planned return; he never did and succumbed to bone cancer on July 20. A rotation of replacement anchors (including Jennings) anchored the program until August 9, 1983 when 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 throughout 1985 - 1997, but since 1997 it has been in second place behind its main rival NBC Nightly News. In April 2005, Jennings announced that he had 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 ended the era of the three network news anchors of Jennings, Brokaw, and Rather. 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. On May 23, 2006, Elizabeth Vargas announced her resignation from WNT. Charles Gibson was then named sole anchor of the show, effective May 29, 2006, effectively replacing Vargas and her injured co-anchor Bob Woodruff. On July 19, 2006, ABC News announced that World News Tonight would be now known as World News With Charles Gibson. The cause of this name change is that now that the program is available 24/7 through its webcast (retitled as simply World News) and through ABCNews.com. WNT expanded to 6 nights a week with World News Sunday on January 28, 1979, and to a full 7 days with the premiere of World News Saturday on January 5, 1985. 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 match up with the weekday editions. However, the original names were restored on July 19, 2006 to go along with the weekday broadcast's name change. Some former anchors of the weekend news include Sam Donaldson from the mid-1970's to 1988, Carole Simpson from 1988-2003, Terry Moran from 2001-2005, and Bob Woodruff from 2003-2005. Currently, Jim Avila is the Saturday edition anchor and Dan Harris is the Sunday edition anchor.
10/10 (1 Vote cast)