ABC's Westin Defends Dual-Anchor Format - Broadcasting & Cable

ABC's Westin Defends Dual-Anchor Format

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ABC News President David Westin on Saturday told reporters he was not concerned with any short-term fall in ratings for the new World News Tonight and its dual-anchor format featuring Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas.

"We have one week worth of ratings," he said Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.  "It's sort of like trying to guess how the Super Bowl is going to come out after one down."Westin maintained that the move to a two-anchor format was a work in progress."We have a lot of work to do on this format," he said.  "This is more of a change than I think people appreciate, and it's going to take some time."And on a week when new CBS News President Sean McManus said his network was likely sticking with a single-anchor format, Westin said that his decision not to do the same with Good MorningAmerica co-host Charlie Gibson in the chair was done with long-term vision."I never made a secret out of the fact Charlie would have been great, but I needed a plan for twenty years, not a handful of years," he said. Asked how long he would stick with the dual-anchor format, Westin maintained it would be at ABC News as long as he would."Is Anne Sweeney here?" Westin asked of the Disney-ABC Television Group President. "I was going to ask her, 'How long is my tenure?'  This is a long-term process."

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