Diane Sawyer retiring? No reason to believe that rumor

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Diane Sawyer attends Aretha Franklin's seventieth birthday party

Diane Sawyer attends Aretha Franklin's seventieth birthday party in New York. (March 24, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Verne Gay Verne Gay

Gay is the television critic.

What now, Diane?

Anchor of "ABC World News" . . . one of the most powerful people in television . . . esteemed newswoman . . . famous the world over . . .


A published report surfaced Tuesday that Diane Sawyer, 67, has mused to close friends about leaving "World News" this year to care for her ailing mother. ABC has vigorously denied the report, and (in fact) there's reason to believe the denial.

"World News" is up slightly year to date (8 million viewers, making smallish inroads on first-place "NBC Nightly News"). Moreover, Sawyer has been in the job she has prepared a lifetime for, for only three years.

As is widely known around ABC News, the hypercritical -- and self-critical -- Sawyer muses to colleagues about a lot of things, many of which do not always come to pass. She is indeed deeply devoted to her mother, Jean W. Sawyer, who will turn 93 in February.

Meanwhile, her husband, director Mike Nichols, who is 81, has also had health problems in recent years. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that Sawyer is concerned about the two most important people in her life. (Her father, Erbon Powers Sawyer -- a Jefferson County, Kentucky, judge -- died in 1969.)

As one veteran industry observer (who requested anonymity) put it, "The only point of view you can have is that with her mom not well she's down, and that may be her emotion of the moment. But it doesn't mean anyone should count on her leaving."

No one should -- but this is also television, where "never say never" is also worth bearing in mind.


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