Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ann Compton Retires as ABC News Finishes Sweep of Older Women– Joins Walters, Sawyer, Couric, McFadden


Ann Compton, a welcome face and voice on ABC News for 40 years, is history. She’s being retired on September at age 67.  While the American retirement age is supposed to be 65, most everyone who can now works as long as they can. There was no sign that Ann Compton– who was also on ABC Radio–was ready to go. She didn’t look tired. And she didn’t make the announcement.

My guess is ABC will just pull her off during one of her dependably smart reports and throw her into the same pile where Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, and Katie Couric went this year. That’s right: ABC News has managed to get rid of all its on camera females over a “certain age” in a year’s time.

If I were Robin Roberts, I’d be nervous. The “GMA” host is 53. I’m waiting for the ABC press release that Roberts wants to smell the roses since her success cancer surgery, and spend more time with her family. (When you read that, you know the gig’s up. No one wants to spend more time with their family!)

Ann Compton’s exit leaves Elizabeth Vargas, 51, and Deborah Roberts, 53. Vargas did a recent stint in rehab, so ABC could go for her first. I don’t think she wants to spend more time her family given recent tabloid reports, but you never know. Roberts may be harder to shake. She’s married to NBC Today star Al Roker, and he is known to speak his mind.

Interesting: this comes at a time when Jane Pauley, who went under the radar for a while, is staging a Renaissance at CBS. She hosted the Sunday morning show last week, and is subbing for Gayle King. Pauley’s return is refreshing, to say the least. And over at NBC, Cynthia McFadden– also over 50 and nudged out of ABC News this year– is going to be lending her expertise to their broadcasts.

As for Ann Compton, I hope this isn’t the end. After all Bob Schieffer is 77 and he’s still on the air. So are plenty of other men over 50. If you listen carefully, I’m sure Irving R. Levine is still reporting for “Today.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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