Sawyer racks up frequent-flier miles
NEW YORK — A month into her new job as "World News" anchor, Diane Sawyer has piled up enough frequent-flier miles to impress even George Clooney's character in "Up in the Air."
Her desire to get out of ABC's New York studio has already set Sawyer apart from her predecessor, Charles Gibson, who retired in December. She traveled to Copenhagen to interview Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for her first show, and has been to Afghanistan and Haiti.
Today will be a shuttle flight to Washington to interview President Obama.
"I will get on the plane at the drop of a story," said Sawyer, 64, who's giving her first interviews since taking over the broadcast on Dec. 21. The launch was done without fanfare in part because ABC was spooked by expectations raised and dashed surrounding Katie Couric's CBS debut.
OBAMA EXCUSED FROM CHICAGO JURY DUTY
WASHINGTON — If Cook County, Ill., had had its druthers, President Obama would have shown up today for jury duty.
But court officials were told several weeks ago the prospect was a no-go, a White House official said yesterday. The summons showed up at the president's home in Chicago.
Obama, a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School and later a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, would have been bound for the courthouse in suburban Bridgeview, Ill., had he not been otherwise occupied. He delivers his first State of the Union address Wednesday.
CAMERON ON TRACK TO SINK HIS OWN RECORD
LOS ANGELES — James Cameron's "Avatar" is on a course to sink "Titanic" at the box office.
No. 1 for the sixth straight weekend with $36 million, the sci-fi spectacle lifted its domestic total to $552.8 million, according to studio estimates yesterday. "Avatar" raised its worldwide total to $1.841 billion, just shy of first place behind Cameron's last movie, the 1997 shipwreck epic "Titanic," at $1.843 billion.
The apocalyptic thriller "Legion," featuring Paul Bettany as an Armageddon-fighting fallen angel, debuted behind "Avatar" at No. 2 with $18.2 million. "The Book of Eli" grabbed the No. 3 position with $17 million in its second week.
O'BRIEN GOES OUT WITH A BANG
NEW YORK — Preliminary Nielsen ratings suggest that Conan O'Brien won a hefty audience for his final hour hosting "The Tonight Show."
O'Brien scored a 7.0 rating for his farewell appearance on NBC Friday, compared to a 2.5 rating for CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" and, on ABC, a 2.8 for "Nightline" followed by 1.3 for "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
O'Brien exited NBC after negotiations that resulted in a severance deal signed last Thursday. His departure ends nearly eight months at "The Tonight Show," and, before that, 16 years hosting "Late Night."
— Advertiser News Services