ABC “This Week” exec producer Jon Banner is leaving the troubled show to run “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings.”
Banner’s promotion is the first strategic personnel move made since Rick Kaplan returned to the news net last month as senior veep of news, reporting directly to ABC News prexy David Westin.
Widely liked and respected throughout the ABC News org, Banner will begin his duties as soon as his replacement is named at “This Week,” which has had more than its share of woes since former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos took over as host in the fall.
The Sunday show has fallen to historic lows in the ratings, losing its No. 2 standing to CBS’ “Face the Nation.” NBC’s “Meet the Press” continues to hold the top spot among Sunday news talkers.
Banner said he’s proud of his work on the Sunday gabber, which includes breaking from the traditional Sunday morning script and sending Stephanopoulos around the world to do location interviews, as well as to host the first 2004 Democratic presidential debate.
“The Sunday show has shaken up Sunday television,” Banner told Daily Variety. “Anybody who takes over that show will be in good hands. I’m not worried about it at all.”
ABC News insiders defend “This Week” by pointing out that due to pro basketball, the show was preempted in many markets. Rivals counter by saying that “Meet the Press” managed to rise to No. 1 during the same time that the Peacock aired National Basketball Assn. games.
At “World News,” Banner will replace exec producer Paul Slavin, who was recently put in charge of worldwide newsgathering.
Banner has worked at ABC News virtually his entire career, holding positions that include senior broadcast producer of “World News.” He also held top spots at “Good Morning America” and the Saturday and Sunday editions of “World News Tonight.”
“Jon’s creativity, energy and intellect make him the ideal choice to join Peter at the helm of our flagship broadcast,” ABC News prexy David Westin said in making the announcement.
ABC insiders said Banner should be installed at “World News” within weeks.