Archive for Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gibson given fond farewell at ‘World News’

December 19, 2009

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— The final glimpse of Charles Gibson found him at his “ABC World News” anchor desk, surrounded by dozens of applauding co-workers. He applauded back.

Signing off from the network’s flagship newscast Friday, Gibson brought to a close 34 years at ABC. He called the job he’s leaving “a labor of love.”

“It’s hard to walk away from what I honestly think is the best job in the world,” he said in brief farewell remarks. “But my parents taught me you should understay, not overstay, your welcome.

“And there is so much to do. In the years I have left, I don’t want to miss any of it.”

The 66-year-old Gibson, who has anchored “World News” since 2006, announced his intention to retire several months ago.

“I hope you’ve had a good day,” he said in one last refrain of his signature signoff, his voice quavering. “I’ve had so many good days here.”

On tape, luminaries paid him tribute and wished him well. They included President Barack Obama as well as former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. Singers Sting and Julie Andrews sang his praises, and comic actors Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin sang a few bars of “Happy Trails to You.”

Even fellow TV journalists Brian Williams and Katie Couric, his evening-news rivals on NBC and CBS, plus Kermit, the Muppet “news frog,” weighed in warmly.

On Monday, Diane Sawyer, the ABC colleague Gibson cited as “my pal,” will take over anchor duties at “World News” in what is unfolding as a low-key transition.

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