Diane Sawyer Steps Down As 'World News' Anchor

08/27/2014 07:13 pm ET | Updated Aug 27, 2014

ABC's Diane Sawyer ended her tenure as anchor of "World News" on Wednesday, marking another milestone in a long and iconic career in TV news.

In a warm goodbye, Sawyer thanked her viewers and said she felt privileged about her time sitting in the anchor chair.

"It has been wonderful to be the home port for the brave and brilliant forces of ABC News around the world and to feel every single night you and I were in a conversation about the day together. Sometimes, as we know, there have been tough stories but you always made it clear, like me, you believed that better will come, that the future is one of possibility," she said. "With gratitude for these years, I thank you and I'll see you right back here on ABC News very soon."

She assured viewers they were in "strong and steady hands" with her replacement, David Muir, who will officially take over from her on September 2nd.

"I can't wait to see you in full gear," she told him.

Sawyer is stepping down as "World News" is mounting its fiercest challenge in years to top-rated rival "NBC Nightly News." She is transitioning to the role of a roving scoop-getter, essentially filling the slot left by Barbara Walters after her retirement. Her time as "World News" chief was marked by rising ratings and a string of big exclusives, but also charges that she'd softened the broadcast's content in a bid for ratings. (ABC has always heatedly rejected that last claim.)

Sawyer is also potentially the last evening news anchor at ABC to be the true face of the network. Her job has been effectively split in half, with Muir taking over nightly anchoring duty while leaving breaking news and election nights to George Stephanopoulos.

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