Diane Sawyer Debuts as ABC News Anchor

"Good evening and it is so good to be here with you tonight," she said

Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Diane Sawyer has been tapped by ABC News honchos to take over for Charlie Gibson.

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TV heavyweight Diane Sawyer debuted on ABC "World News" last night without much fanfare.

Sawyer, 64, shed her saccharine image as "Good Morning America" co-host to take the no-frills top spot at ABC's flagship news program Monday night, capping off her debut with an interview with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Good evening and it is so good to be here with you tonight," the former "20/20" anchor said at the broadcast's opening.

The broadcast opened with Sawyer's interview with Ahmadinejad in which she pressed him on the alleged "smoking gun" documents that reportedly link Iran to nuclear weapons development. The Iranian leader, who called Sawyer a "respectable lady," eluded most questions and called the document a fabrication, according to the New York Times.

There was apparently one glitch during her Monday night premiere about 10 minutes into the broadcast when the screen went blue and Sawyer hesitated and misspoke -- saying "presidents" instead of "presents."

There was little hoopla associated with Sawyer's evening news debut and many speculated the network wanted to downplay Gibson's departure after fewer than four years so they could have time to perfect the newscast.

At the end of the broadcast, Sawyer gave a shout-out to her predecessor.

"For you, Charlie Gibson, I hope you had a good day and a great night," Saywer said, referencing Gibson's sign-off.

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