Ed Driscoll

ABC Turns Even Bluer

John Stossel leaves ABC for redder, and presumably greener, turf, TV Newser reports:

John Stossel, the longtime ABC News correspondent and co-anchor of “20/20,” is leaving ABC to join Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. TVNewser has learned Stossel will host a weekly, one-hour program for the 2-year-old business channel. He’s expected to signed a multi-year deal with Fox which will include regular appearances on Fox News Channel during daytime and primetime. He’ll also host four, hour-long specials on Fox News, much like the business/consumer specials he’d hosted for years on ABC.

Stossel, a libertarian, has been appearing on Fox News for years as a guest on shows including “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hannity & Colmes” and “The Big Story.”

Stossel joined “20/20” in 1981 and was upped to co-anchor in 2003. TVNewser has learned there was a window in Stossel’s ABC contract which allowed him to jump to Fox.

Stossel’s departure from ABC means there will soon be another anchor vacancy at the network. Last week, Charlie Gibson announced his retirement paving the way for Diane Sawyer to take over on “World News” beginning in January. “20/20’s” other co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas, is one of the top names being mentioned for the GMA slot.

At Fox, Stossel will join another ABC alum, Chris Wallace who made the jump from broadcast TV to Fox in 2003. Last year, ABC News veteran producer Michael Clemente joined Fox News as SVP of News. Clemente had worked as a senior broadcast producer with Stossel on “20/20” during his 11 years at ABC.

Perhaps FNC’s most notable ABC hire is Brit Hume, who spent 23 years at ABC News before joining Fox News when it launched. Hume stepped down from his daily “Special Report” anchoring last year and now appears as an analyst on the network.

I can’t say I blame Stossel for leaving for a network that better suits his ideology, but I’d rather see the dinosaur networks become more intellectually diversified, not less. Stossel’s departure leaves ABC that much more monolithic, leaving Jake Tapper as just about the sole voice of anything approaching objectivity at the network that employs George Stephanopoulos, and infamously hired Leonardo DiCaprio back in 2000 as an “environmental journalist.”