By Howard Kurtz
Thursday, December 10, 2009
George Stephanopoulos has accepted ABC's offer to co-host "Good Morning America" and will start Monday, while Chris Cuomo will remain with the network as the co-anchor of "20/20."
The network plans to formally announce Thursday that Stephanopoulos will succeed Diane Sawyer on the morning show, and that Emmy Award-winning ABC correspondent Juju Chang will take Cuomo's spot as news anchor. Chang also writes a blog about balancing work and family, called Juju Juggles.
Network sources, who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters, say Stephanopoulos will continue to host "This Week" for an unspecified period while the network figures out who will succeed him. That means Stephanopoulos will essentially be working seven days a week, in New York for "GMA" and back in Washington for the Sunday talk show.
The Washington Post reported last week that ABC News President David Westin had offered Stephanopoulos the job, picking him over Cuomo to be Robin Roberts's partner on "GMA." Sawyer is leaving to become the anchor of "World News."
ABC has essentially struck a deal with Cuomo, son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo, to co-anchor "20/20," serve as a roving correspondent for all its programs and be the primary substitute for Stephanopoulos. They added that the final contractual details have yet to be hammered out.
Chris Cuomo, who was being courted by other networks, was considering leaving ABC unless he got an offer to be an anchor on the newsmagazine show.
Stephanopoulos, now ABC's chief Washington correspondent, had told network executives he wanted "GMA" revamped with a harder-news focus as a condition of taking the job. Now that those concerns have been resolved, he is making plans to move his family to New York.