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Sawyer to ankle Alphabet web

Anchors away for ABC news vet

NEW YORK — Veteran ABC News anchor Forrest Sawyer is ankling the Alphabet web after failing to reach agreement with the net on a new long-term deal.

Sawyer, who had been with ABC since July 1988, had been the most frequent substitute host for Ted Koppel on “Nightline,” and some industry insiders believe Sawyer was angling for assurances that he would eventually be named Koppel’s successor.

However, a rep for Sawyer said that was not the case. “Money was not the key, ‘Nightline’ was not the key. The key is what Forrest wants to do,” his rep said, adding that Sawyer would like to explore opportunities in new media and other ventures.

Sawyer had been working without a contract for several months, but his rep said that was to fill existing story obligations.

An ABC spokeswoman confirmed Sawyer’s departure, saying the anchor “has been an important and valuable part of the ABC News family for 11 years. With various changes occurring in the industry, he feels it’s time to move on and explore a variety of other options. We have reluctantly agreed and wish him the best.”

Where Sawyer might be headed next is unclear, though a cable gig would seem a possibility. Sawyer’s agent was unavailable for comment.

Sawyer joined ABC News in 1988 as co-anchor of “World News This Morning” and news anchor for “Good Morning America.” He was named anchor of “World News Sunday” in 1989 and continued in that role until 1993.

In 1993, Sawyer was tapped to anchor the ABC newsmag “Day One,” and he later co-anchored the web’s “Turning Point.” Both newsmags are now dead.