ABC closes in on Gibson

Anchor would replace injured Woodruff

A correction was made to this article on March 14, 2006.

ABC News is in talks to put Charles Gibson next to Elizabeth Vargas on “World News Tonight” on a semi-permanent basis while co-anchor Bob Woodruff recovers from his injuries.

No deal has been struck, but the move would give the network some breathing room given Woodruff’s extended absence and Vargas’ pregnancy. Gibson talks are just one of several scenarios that have been discussed at ABC to fill the void left when Woodruff was injured in an explosion in Iraq in January.

For weeks, rumors have swirled that Diane Sawyer was also lobbying for the job and that news prexy David Westin was ready to give it to her. Those rumors intensified last week after Sawyer solo anchored “WNT” one night two weeks ago. A spokesman for ABC News said an announcement on the future of the newscast was likely in the near term but would not elaborate.

The news division has other options. Correspondent Dan Harris regularly anchors the “WNT” Webcast at 3 p.m.