David Muir brings solid credentials as a reporter to his new gig as anchor and managing editor of ABC News’ “World News” flagship broadcast. He honed those skills during his 2000-03 stint as a reporter and anchor at one of the most respected TV stations in the country, Boston’s ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV, owned by Hearst Television.
WCVB is well known for its investment in newsgathering and for producing informational and lifestyle programming. It’s one of the few stations in the country to offer a locally produced newsmagazine-esque series, “Chronicle,” in the lucrative 7:30 p.m. weeknight slot.
Execs at WCVB who knew Muir during his tenure in Beantown were not at all surprised by the news Wednesday of his promotion. Muir will succeed Diane Sawyer on the “World News” desk as of Sept. 2.
The pedestal occupied by Big Three network news anchors is not as high as it once was, but there’s no denying that it remains one of the most coveted jobs in the TV news biz.
“David was going to be successful wherever he went,” WCVB prexy-g.m. Bill Fine told Variety. “He got noticed around here pretty quick.”
Muir, 40, grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., graduated from Ithaca College and spent five years as an anchor and reporter for his hometown WTVH-TV outlet before joining WCVB.
Moving from Syracuse (market No. 84) to Boston (market No. 7) was a big leap, but he had an on-air presence that won him the job, Fine said. Fine recalls being impressed by a clip of Muir in Syracuse when it was clear he was being pranked on-air by a caller.
“You saw him on-air realize what was happening and the way he handled it, even as a kid of 20 or 21, showed he was unflappable,” Fine said.
At WCVB Muir was known as a tireless reporter who worked hard to get to know the city and its political and cultural landscape. He won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for his work in tracking the path of the 9/11 hijackers on a story that struck close to home for Bostonians.
Muir was plucked for an overnight anchoring gig at ABC News after only three years at WCVB. But he has endeared himself to his former co-workers with his generosity.
“He has been very free to credit the folks who mentored him here,” Fine said. “He has been extraordinarily gracious toward everybody here and what was passed on to him,” Fine said. “He has also been masterful in the respect he’s afforded Diane Sawyer. You don’t see that kind of sensibility in everybody.”
Muir joined ABC News in August 2003 and quickly became one of the Alphabet’s most visible and globe-trotting reporters. He’s demonstrated versatility by reporting on crises in global hotspots such as Somalia, Iran and Egypt and big domestic stories such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2012 presidential election. ABC also gave him some seasoning as a soft-news reporter with the “Made in America” series for “World News” highlighting small-town business success stories.
Muir has served as weekend anchor of “World News” since 2011 and co-anchor of Friday newsmagazine “20/20” since last year. He’ll drop the weekend slots once he steps into the big chair, but he will continue on “20/20” with Elizabeth Vargas.