James Goldston Named President of ABC News

5:57 AM PST 04/10/2014 by Marisa Guthrie
Heidi Gutman/ABC
James Goldston

The veteran exec was named the new head of the news organization on Thursday morning.

As expected, James Goldston has been named president of ABC News, succeeding Ben Sherwood, who will move to the top job at Disney-ABC in Burbank early next year. Goldston's promotion is effective immediately. Technically, Sherwood will assume Anne Sweeney's job next February, but he will be spending the bulk of his time in Burbank easing into his new job and, at the moment, immersed in pilot screenings.

Goldston arrived at ABC News in 2004 after several years at the BBC in his native England. (With his promotion, two BBC alums -- Goldston and ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee -- are running ABC divisions. And two Brits -- Goldston and NBC News president Deborah Turness -- are leading American news divisions.)

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Goldston is responsible for the re-making of Nightline into a multi-anchor, multi-topic program in the wake of Ted Koppel's retirement. Nightline, in its 11:35 p.m. slot, would become the top-rated broadcast program in its time slot, drawing more viewers than both NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman. He was named senior executive producer of Good Morning America in 2011 and was largely responsible for that show's transformation to a multi-anchor ensemble, a change that helped the morning program topple the Today show's unprecedented 16-year winning streak and eventually funnel more than $100 million in ad revenue to ABC.

Since 2012, Goldston has been senior vice president at ABC News, with oversight over all of the news division's programming.

In a note to ABC staff, Sherwood characterized Goldston as “an award-winning journalist, masterful programmer and innovative businessman [who] has helped steer ABC News in moments of triumph and adversity."

Added Goldston: “Coming to ABC News has been the most exciting and rewarding time in my life. The people of ABC News amaze me every day with their dedication, creativity, hunger for the truth and sense of duty to our vitally important mission. Over the past three years, Ben inspired the division with the two most important things we needed -- confidence in the future and a belief that if we dreamed big dreams we could accomplish anything. Armed with those, I know our incredible team will take ABC News to even greater heights.”

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