Charles Gibson's NEW NIGHT GIG

UPDATED 07/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/03/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

ABC News's attempt at a fresh coanchor team for World News Tonight wound up a sad, vexing coda to the death of the legendary Peter Jennings last year: Bob Woodruff was nearly killed over in Iraq, and now Elizabeth Vargas has skedaddled in anticipation of maternity leave. Enter former Good Morning America cohost Charles Gibson, 63, a man who projects graying respectability, dependability and other words not synonymous with electric. But then, he's not supposed to be (although ABC chiefs surely hoped for better ratings than his second week's, the worst since 1987). He has the right, light gravity to move from war headlines to stranger topics such as "What's happening to the elephants--a popular attraction is disappearing from America's zoos." But what's happening to the evening news? That's the question that should haunt Mr. Gibson's noggin.

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