ABC hires Amanpour
NEW YORK (AP):
ABC News has hired Christiane Amanpour, one of CNN's best-known personalities for her hard-nosed reporting from war zones over the past two decades, to host its Sunday morning political talk show starting this summer.
She replaces George Stephanopoulos, who left the show in December to take over as co-host of ABC's Good Morning America.
An Iran-born journalist whose expertise is in international stories, and who has complained about the lack of overseas news in the American news media, would seem an unusual choice for a job that has largely been devoted to discussions of political and domestic news. That also may represent a real opportunity.
"With Christiane, we have the opportunity to provide our audiences with something different on Sunday mornings," ABC News President David Westin said.
Amanpour, 52, said she was exhilarated by the challenge.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime and a unique opportunity," she said.
She had a high profile as CNN's top international correspondent in the days when there was only one cable news network, reporting from conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, the Balkans and elsewhere.
Since moving to New York three years ago to be with her husband, former US State Department spokesman James Rubin, Amanpour has been seen much less frequently. She hosts a daily programme for the CNN International network. Highlights of those are shown for a half hour each Sunday afternoon on CNN's domestic network.
ABC has courted her for a job since back when Roone Arledge was head of the news division, more than a decade ago. She and Westin both said the time was right now.
"Of all the people I know in this business, Christiane knows herself and she knows the news," said Frank Sesno, former CNN Washington bureau chief. "I think it's a very interesting and wise move for her and I think it will be a very different kind of programme. George was the consummate insider, a former White House staffer turned interviewer. Christiane is the exact opposite."