What now, Diane Sawyer: Anchor of "ABC World News"...one of the most powerful people in television...esteemed newswoman...famous the world over... you want to retire?!
A report surfaced Tuesday morning in the New York Daily News' gossip column, "Confidential," which said that 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. "WN" is up slightly year to date (8 million viewers, making smallish inroads on leader "Nightly News.") Moreover, she's been in the job she has prepared a lifetime for — for only three years.
Now, here's what you didn't read in the News. As is widely known around ABC News, 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. (Her father, Erbon Powers Sawyer — a Jefferson County, Kentucky, judge — died in 1969.) Diane, as colleagues note, is not only indebted to her mother, but like her mother. (Another post for another day...)
Meanwhile, her husband, the great director (and onetime Elaine May comedic partner) 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. As one veteran industry observer (who asked not to be named) told me, "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.