May 20, 1999 12:00 AM

Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson will step in Jan. 18 as temporary co-anchors of ABC’s “Good Morning America” for “a few months,” said Sawyer. ABC said Monday that Sawyer and Gibson will continue to anchor the prime time news magazine “20/20” after replacing Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman on the show, which has seen ratings plummet against NBC morning powerhouse the “Today” show, with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. (Tuesday’s “Today” did not report the “GMA” story.) Newman will move to “Nightline” as a New York-based correspondent, and McRee, who is expecting a baby, will continue working for ABC on “special assignments and projects” while based in Los Angeles, where she formerly was a local anchor and where her husband still lives.

  • At a telephone press conference to announce the sweeping changes at “GMA,” Gibson (who was a “GMA” fixture for 11 years before moving to 20/20) and ABC News President David Westin blamed the media for the failure of McRee and Newman. Heavy reporting on the show’s lousy ratings did the new team in, said Gibson. “You guys are so ratings-obsessed,” he said. “Far more than we are.”

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