The Daily Beast's Rebecca Dana reports that Charlie Gibson is "livid" over the choice of Diane Sawyer as his replacement on ABC's "World News."
Dana quotes a source close to Gibson and supports the claim with the evidence that Gibson neither mentioned Sawyer in his statement nor referenced his retirement — and her succession — on his broadcast Wednesday night:
Although they worked closely for more than a decade, Gibson makes no direct reference to Sawyer in the statement, and a source close to the departing anchor described him as "livid" that she's succeeding him. An ABC executive called this "nonsense," and Westin said he told Gibson from their earliest conversations about his retirement that Sawyer would be his replacement.
Both Brian Williams on NBC and Maggie Rodriguez (filling in for Katie Couric) on CBS reported the ABC anchor shift. Williams took a personal tone, calling both Gibson and Sawyer "friends" of his and joking, "As a service to our viewers, we will let you know how their transition goes just to save you from the effort of having to watch yourself. My very best to both Charlie and Diane." Rodriguez simply added, "Congratulations to them both" (watch below).
Several reports indicate that Gibson told ABC News President David Westin of his intention to retire (not for the first time) last week, and that Westin immediately knew he would tap Sawyer to replace him. He reportedly considered no other candidates, asked Sawyer to replace Gibson last Thursday, and she agreed Tuesday night.
However, Westin told the New York Times, "This was not a result I wanted," meaning that he did not want Gibson to retire.
Sawyer, for her part, was reportedly (again) concerned first about Gibson before she would accept the job. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reports that Sawyer's first question when Westin offered her the job was, "Can't we talk Charlie into staying?"
Sawyer had expressed interest in the anchor job when it became available in 2006, but did not want to pursue it if it meant taking it away from Gibson.
Kurtz adds that when Gibson first approached Westin to discuss retirement earlier this summer, he told him Sawyer would likely be his replacement.
"I certainly expressed to him my view it was quite likely that Diane would be the successor," Westin told Kurtz.
Full "CBS Evening News" broadcast; Gibson/Sawyer news at 18:24