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Is Christiane Amanpour's departure from This Week a fail for her or ABC News?



amanpour-geroges.jpgNews that Christiane Amanpour was leaving ABC's Sunday politics show This Week for reporting jobs at CNN and the alphabet network wasn't a surprise to critics tracking the signs.

Rival Face the Nation on CBS has seen a rise in ratings and coming upgrade to hourlong status; Amanpour's patron, former news president David Westin, is gone; and as the GOP nomination race percolates, news on the Sunday show front has decidedly switched from the Arab Spring stories in Egypt and elsewhere at the year's start.

As Amanpour and ABC try putting the best face on an experiment many in TV thought would never work -- the network's news release trumpets her new role as "roving global affairs anchor" across all ABC platforms -- the question arises:

Who deserves the #fail whale here? Amanpour or ABC News?

Some columnist have gleefully noted that Amanpour never seemed to jell in the job, refusing to move to Washington D.C. or suck up to the power players in the nation's capital. But ABC also gave her short shrift; rather than follow through with totally revamping the show to suit her talents, the network let her keep hosting a program that was sort of like a typical politics show, but not.

Those of us who noted the folly in hiring an anchor with limited Washington experience a year before a major presidential election can feel secure that we called this one right. And with old hand George Stephanopoulos taking over on Jan. 8 -- amid rumors well-liked ace reporter Jake Tapper may get the job after the election -- This Week's future seems assured.

But it also feels a bit like the old boys network has reasserted itself, rolling back a bold anchor choice that wasn't backed by enough real change to give it a fighting chance.

ABC's release is below:

ABC News’ “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour is moving to an exciting new role in the News division as roving Global Affairs anchor across all ABC News platforms effective immediately. Amanpour will report on foreign affairs for the network in primetime specials and on all ABC News broadcasts. Starting Sunday, January 8, “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos will host “This Week” in addition to his weekday anchor role at “GMA.”

“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for me to take my love of storytelling to primetime at ABC News. I am looking forward to getting back into the field to report stories on global issues that matter greatly to the American people. This role is groundbreaking, bold and very different! I am thrilled and honored,” said Amanpour.

In addition to her prominent role at ABC News, Amanpour will host a weekday show to air on CNN International. Stephanopoulos moderated ABC News’ “This Week” from September 2002 to January 2010.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 8:28am]


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