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ABC News adjusts ‘Picture’

Division launches rebranding initiative

One of ABC News prexy Ben Sherwood’s top projects is coming to fruition: The entire division is launching a major rebranding initiative starting Monday. The news division’s motto is now “See the Whole Picture,” a slogan that seems tailor-made to invite viewers anxious for some clarity during the 2012 election season — and afterward, of course.

There’s the new tagline and also a new leading image of the net’s entire on-air staff posed together in a yearbook-style photo, with Barbara Walters front and center, in red, flanked by Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer.

The new campaign will emphasize ABC News’ ability to make stories about far-reaching events relevant to American viewers, and puts major emphasis on the Alphabet’s roster of personalities.

ABC’s calling card has been the claim “More Americans get their news from ABC News” since at least 1988 (it’s been around so long, representatives for the network couldn’t remember having been without it), so the change is major. Sherwood told journos in October that the “more Americans” statement was literally true, now more than ever, as the company partnered with Yahoo to provide wider distribution for its content.During that deal, as well, ABC touted its bench of anchors and correspondents. Sherwood, who joined the net just over a year ago, has focued on talent moves in his first year on the job, sometimes sacrificing exclusivity to nab or keep a major newsperson.

Katie Couric joined the Alphabet after her departure from CBS, and will report for ABC News as she works on her new syndie yakker for ABC/Disney Domestic TV. And just last week, ABC and CNN negotiated an unprecedented deal to share Christiane Amanpour, for whom ABC’s traditionally domestic-politics-heavy “This Week” seemed an uncomfortable fit (“This Week” saw editions based in both Libya and Egypt this year). Amanpour will have several specials a year on ABC and will report for CNN.

As the campaign rolls out through 2012, it will emphasize that versatility even as the division’s reach expands via Yahoo. The promos will appear on all ABC News broadcasts to begin with, and will land on ABC News Radio, on abcnews.com and on Yahoo! in 2012.