NEW YORK -- Christiane Amanpour will soon step down as host of ABC's "This Week" to take on a new role at the network, where she'll host about six primetime specials a year and appear on ABC News programs, while also launching a new global affairs show on CNN International, according a source familiar with the emerging arrangements. (UPDATE: Amanpour confirmed the news in a statement.)
"Good Morning America" co-host George Stephanopoulos, who previously hosted "This Week," will take over once again. He'll continue hosting GMA during the week.
Amanpour had a big year covering the world for ABC News, landing exclusive interviews with former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi. She hosted "This Week" from Egypt one Sunday and Tokyo another, following Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.
But at the same time, "This Week" -- which has traditionally focused on domestic politics -- has slipped in the ratings. And lately, it's CBS's "Face the Nation" -- not former number two "This Week" -- that's battling NBC's "Meet the Press" for first place among Sunday morning news shows.
The selection of Amanpour, a globe-trotting CNN correspondent, to replace a political animal like Stephanopoulos as host of the program shook up the Washington political establishment. In March 2010, I described Amanpour as a "surprise and risk" for the network that had passed over its deep bench of political journalists like Jake Tapper, Terry Moran, and Jonathan Karl, each of whom has guest-hosted the show. By choosing Amanpour, ABC was making a statement that the D.C.-facing show would turn more to the rest of the world.
Some ABC News staffers told The Huffington Post that they feel "This Week" hasn't been as integral to the political conversation since Amanpour took over. While they greatly respect her as a journalist, staffers simply felt her passion remained with global affairs rather than in Beltway politics, the show's traditional bread and butter.
So rumors have flown for some time that Amanpour would eventually leave the program, with the New York Post's Page Six column upping the ante on Friday by reporting the move may happen soon. On Monday, The Huffington Post reported that similar rumors had been flying around the network, with New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter, in what he had intended to be a direct message, alerting the Twitterverse Tuesday that he had heard she was "formally out."
ABC News did not immediately comment.
UPDATE: 5:40 p.m. -- Christiane Amanpour released a statement to The Huffington Post commenting on her move:
This is an exciting and unique opportunity for me to take my love of story telling to primetime at ABC News with multiple specials, as well as becoming a roving Global Affairs anchor across all ABC platforms.
I am looking forward to getting back into the field to report stories on global issues that matter greatly to the American people. At the same time, I will be broadcasting once again to millions of people across the world with a weekday show on CNN International.
This role is groundbreaking, bold and very different! I am thrilled and honored.
It's been an incredible experience to have had a ringside seat to democracy in action at This Week. It's been an incredible honor to anchor such a prestigious program and I thank all of you who have helped me on that journey.
UPDATE: 6:00 p.m. -- CNN/ Worldwide President Jim Walton sent the following memo to staff Tuesday:
This afternoon we announced that Christiane Amanpour is returning to CNN to host an evening newscast on CNN International beginning in 2012. In a unique arrangement with ABC News, Christiane will continue to report for their news programs, as well. We could not be happier than to welcome back to the CNN organization the leading international journalist working in television news, who also happens to be our longtime colleague and friend. I wanted to share the news with you as it is breaking.
ABC News president Ben Sherwood issued a statement on Amanpour's move through a spokesperson:
Christiane has had a remarkable year with world-beating exclusives from Mubarak to Gadhafi and we're thrilled that she's going to be bringing her incredible storytelling and reporting to all of our broadcasts and particularly to primetime.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Christiane Amanpour and James Rubin attend the after party for the premiere of 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' at the The Standard Hotel Rooftop on December 5, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13: Journalist Christiane Amanpour speaks onstage during the 15th Annual Webby Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03: Journalists Richard Roth and Christiane Amanpour attend the HBO Documentary screening of 'Precious Life' at the Time Warner building on May 3, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Journalist Christiane Amanpour and James Rubin attend the TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for TIME)
(L-R) US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton , Croatian President Ivo Josipovic (L), Bosnia and Herzegovina co-President Bakir Izetbegovic, translator, and US journalist and moderator Christiane Amanpour attend a panel discussion celebrating the anniversary of The Dayton Accords, which marked the end of the Balkans conflict at New York University in New York, February 9, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: In this handout photo provided by ABC, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) (L), and Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) (R) appear on ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour in Washington, DC, 4-17-11. Appearing on the monitor via satellite are fellow Tea Party members Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) (R), and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) (L). The Tea Party members discussed possible solutions to the countries rising debt like, loweing coprate tax rates, and raising the debt ceiling. (Photo by Martin H. Simon/ABC via Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 3: In this handout provided by ABC News, Christiane Amanpour talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in an exclusive interview for a special one-hour edition of 'Nightline' February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by ABC News via Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 3: In this handout provided by ABC News, Christiane Amanpour reports from Cairo on the crisis in Egypt on January 31, 2011in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by ABC News via Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - FEBRUARY 3: In this handout provided by ABC News, Christiane Amanpour talks with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in an interview for a special one-hour edition of 'Nightline' February 3, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by ABC News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: TV personality Christiane Amanpour speaks during the opening ceremony of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour and her husband James Rubin arrive for the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner May 1, 2010 at a hotel in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 13: Christiane Amanpour (L) and honoree Sadiqa Basiri Saleem attend the DVF Awards at the United Nations on March 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: CNN's Christiane Amanpour speaks onstage the The 2009 Women of the Year hosted by Glamour Magazine at Carnegie Hall on November 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Glamour Magazine)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd-L), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (2nd-R), GW School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno (R) and CNN chief international correspondent Christine Amanpour arrive to hold a discussion on 'the reach and limitations of American power and how we can most effectively use this power' at the Lisner Auditorium of George Washington (GW) University in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown talks during a 'conversation with' session with moderator Christiane Amanpour on the fourth day the World Economic Forum in Davos January 31, 2009. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown argued Friday for tougher control of the international economy. AFP PHOTO PIERRE VERDY (Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)