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Sawyer tops poll of TV news, talk personalities

Star Jones Reynolds was viewed unfavorably by 70 percent of those asked
/ Source: The Associated Press

Based on the results of a new Gallup poll, ABC ought to consider whether “Good Morning America” should be renamed “Everybody Loves Diane.”

Diane Sawyer topped a popularity list of 17 TV news and talk personalities compiled by Gallup. Among people who expressed an opinion about her, 88 percent viewed Sawyer favorably and 12 percent had a negative view of her, Gallup said Tuesday.

ABC hopes Nielsen Media Research families feel some of those good vibes. “Good Morning America” has never topped NBC’s “Today” show in the ratings since Sawyer began as a co-anchor in 1999.

Despite being let go by CBS in June after a lengthy career marred toward the end by an ill-fated story on President Bush’s military service, Dan Rather was viewed favorably by nearly three-quarters of Gallup’s respondents.

Evening news anchors for NBC and ABC, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson, were both viewed favorably by 87 percent of respondents who expressed an opinion.

However, 38 percent of people reached by Gallup said they had never heard of Williams, who has been anchor of the top-rated network evening news broadcast for a year and a half after replacing Tom Brokaw.

By contrast, only 8 percent of the respondents said they hadn’t heard of Katie Couric, who starts next month as “CBS Evening News” anchor. Couric brings some baggage, though: 28 percent of people who expressed an opinion about her don’t like her, Gallup said.

Producers of “The View” may have some work to do: Rosie O’Donnell, who joins the daytime talk show’s panel next month, is viewed unfavorably by 65 percent of people polled by Gallup who have an opinion of her.

It could be worse: her nemesis Star Jones Reynolds, who left “The View” last month after being told her contract wasn’t being renewed, was viewed unfavorably by 70 percent of the people who had an opinion, Gallup said.

The results are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults aged 18 and over, conducted July 24-27, selected randomly from a scientific sample collected by Gallup. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.