ABC merges 'World News' staffs


NEW YORK -- ABC News said Wednesday that it would combine the staffs of the weekday and weekend editions of "World News With Charles Gibson."

ABC News President David Westin told the news division that efficiencies were driving the decision about the evening newscasts, which takes effect immediately.

"By putting the two staffs together, we'll eliminate duplication and increase clarity," Westin said. "It will also provide an opportunity to maximize and expand the digital components of the broadcasts, and it should help streamline the story selection and pitching process."

It's part of the reorganization of the news division that has led to some layoffs among correspondent ranks and other staff. But ABC News said no one was being laid off in connection with this latest move.

Jon Banner, who is executive producer of "World News," will oversee both programs. Vinnie Malhotra will be the executive producer of the weekend shows and a senior producer on "World News" during the week. They both report to ABC News senior vp Paul Slavin.

There will be no changes to the names of the programs, Westin said.

Meanwhile, as NBC News prepares for the fourth hour of "Today" that debuts next week, ABC News as been adding a third hour of "Good Morning America," but on its ABC News Now digital network for Web, cable and mobile. The hourlong newscast is anchored by Chris Cuomo and includes lifestyle and cooking segments as well as news updates. Other correspondents involved in the extra hour include Ron Claiborne, Marysol Castro, Claire Shipman and Deborah Roberts.