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Diane Sawyer Stepping Down from World News for New ABC Position; David Muir and George Stephanopoulos Get Key Roles

Diane Sawyer ABC/ Ida Mae Astute

Big changes are afoot at ABC News. Veteran anchor Diane Sawyer is stepping down from ABC's World News, but she's not leaving the network. David Muir will take over anchoring duties starting September 2 and Sawyer will go on to "lead new programming tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews," according to ABC News. But that's not the only change.

Good Morning America and This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos has been promoted to chief anchor of ABC News. He'll handle "special reports and breaking news," ABC said in a release.

"We have an extraordinary team of anchors who are gifted storytellers and uniquely skilled broadcasters," James Goldston, president of ABC News, said in a statement. "For years to come, they will inspire us all to do our best work and set a high bar for excellence to inform, empower and inspire our viewers."

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Sawyer served as World News anchor for close to five years. Her new role at ABC News will see the veteran lead a team to "create and commission original reporting and major interviews for all ABC News programs and platforms. 

"After wonderful years at World News I decided it is time to move to a new full time role at ABC News. I'll be joined by an incredible team of journalists dedicated to enterprise reporting, innovative approaches to breaking news and new ways of thinking about big issues and events around the world," Sawyer said in a statement. "I can't wait to continue bringing more of my specials to prime time and appearing on all ABC News broadcasts, as well. And to my friends and colleagues George and David—congratulations. I look forward to exciting work together and great times ahead."

Goldston stressed Sawyer will remain at a "driving force" at ABC News for "many years to come." "She is one of the giants of modern journalism," he said. "Her curiosity, passion and energy are unmatched, and I can't wait to see where she'll lead us next."

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David Muir, George Stephanopoulos D Dipasupil/Getty Images, Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for International Women's Media Foundation)

Stephanopoulos will also lead ABC News' election coverage starting with the midterms in fall 2014 and the 2016 presidential race.

"Getting the chance to do work you love—work that touches people's lives every day—is one of life's greatest privileges," Stephanopoulos said in a statement. "Even luckier is when you get to do that work with the best in the business—Diane, David and our entire ABC News team.  It's an honor to be part of that team. I can't wait to build on our success—and bring our viewers our best—for years to come."

 Muir will continue to co-anchor 20/20 opposite Elizabeth Vargas, but will no longer anchor World News' weekend additions. 

"On this incredibly humbling day, I think of the 12-year-old boy with a dream of being a reporter and seeing the world. I never could have imagined seeing that world with Diane Sawyer," Muir said. "On this day I thank her for not only setting the bar for the rest of us, but for being a trusted friend.  I cannot wait to begin this new adventure with Diane and with George, whose political brain power and endless curiosity inspire me, and drive us all to be better every day."

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