Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
BANTERING EFFUSIVELY WITH GOOD Morning America cohost Charlie Gibson the other day, news anchor Elizabeth Vargas looked for all the world like the candidate most likely to succeed Joan Lunden—as some insiders predict will happen once Lunden steps down in September after 20 years with the perennial runner-up to rival Today. Of course, there's method to Vargas's gladness. In recent weeks she's worked hard to shed what one observer calls her "ice queen" image, which was pointed up in an internal memo (leaked last month to TV Guide) that noted her demand for hair and makeup stylists on all field assignments. Not true, Vargas told the New York Daily News.
Now it appears that Vargas, 34, may not have a lock on Lunden's job after all. ABC News legal expert Cynthia McFadden, 20/20 correspondent Deborah Roberts and KABC-TV news anchor Lisa McRee have all been mentioned for the job. But it's Connie Chung, Dan Rather's CBS Evening News coanchor from 1993 to 1995, who may give Vargas the toughest run for the coveted spot on the GMA sofa. "The men who run the network affiliates are all in love with her," says Washington Post TV columnist John Carmody. "She's an absolute charmer, and she works her tail off." And that's not all. Chung was spotted recently lunching with ABC News chairman Roone Arledge. As one media analyst puts it: "Roone Arledge likes stars, and Connie Chung is a star."