You may remember me speaking about Peter Jennings who used to anchor World News Tonight on ABC. He sadly died about a year ago and is greatly missed. For awhile Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff co-anchored the news show, but Woodruff was seriously hurt on assignment in Iraq and then Vargas decided to leave to raise children (she was pregnant) although she still does occasional evening news specials.
I’ve been watching Charles Gibson on Good Morning America for years, so when it was announced he would be taking Jennings place permanently, I was very pleased. Here was a personality with experience and credibility to carry on where Jennings had left off.
I had been a devoted fan of Jennings for years and when he announced his lung cancer on his last broadcast, I was very saddened. Maybe it was really good that they had other people in Jennings place before Gibson, thus making the transition less abrupt.
World News is on at 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. on the east coast. For years ABC, NBC and CBS were in competition for the world news spot because Tom Brokaw was on NBC, Dan Rather on CBS and Jennings on ABC. Rather was part of the CBS scandal involving questionable documentation of President Bush’s military service and was never able to be authenticated. In the public uproar that followed, Rather’s name was smeared and he left the evening news slot, while Brokaw retired. This left Jennings as the only anchor with any longevity and experience.
Both Brokaw and Rather were off the air by the end of 2004, so Jennings pretty much had the airwaves to himself for the year prior to his death.
Charles Gibson brings to the broadcast a very easy going and yet professional demeanor. Like Jennings, I have complete faith in him and as was demonstrated with Rather, faith in your broadcaster is very important.
Perhaps not since Walter Cronkite has anyone brought the kind of faith and credibility to the evening news that Gibson does. I hope he keeps it up for a long time to come. But I have to admit nobody can ever replace Peter Jennings for me. He had an elegance and a commanding presence and style that was all his own.