David Muir takes over at ABC's 'World News'

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David Muir takes over at ABC's 'World News'
In this image released by ABC News, anchor David Muir from "World News Tonight with David Muir," appears on the set in New York. ABC's "World News" beat NBC's "Nightly News" in viewership last week, only a month after David Muir took over as anchor from Diane Sawyer. NBC's Brian Williams-led newscast had ruled for 263 consecutive weeks, a streak that began in September 2009, and for 310 of the past 311 weeks. Last week ABC's broadcast averaged 8.42 million viewers, while NBC had 8.25 million, the Nielsen company said. (AP Photo/ABC, Lorenzo Bevilaqua)
David Muir attends A Celebration of Barbara Walters at the Four Seasons Restaurant on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
This image released by ABC News shows, from left, David Muir, George Stephanopoulos, Diane Sawyer and ABC News President James Goldston on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in New York. Sawyer is stepping down as its evening news anchor, to be replaced by David Muir. The network said Sawyer will concentrate on interviews and specials. During her tenure, ABC’s “World News” was a steady second to Brian Williams at NBC, although the ABC broadcast has made gains among younger viewers. ABC said George Stephanopoulos will take on a new role as chief anchor for live news events. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)
ABC News anchor David Muir speaks before retired boxing champion Muhammad Ali received the Liberty Medal during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, in Philadelphia. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The GMA team gets soaked taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, promoting awareness of ALS, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 8/15/14, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 1: Amy Robach, David Muir host of Good Morning America in New York.Credit:RW/MediaPunch/IPX
BOSTON - AUGUST 26: David Muir, who will replace Diane Sawyer at ABC, filmed promos with J.C. Monahan, of WCVB's Chronicle, along the waterfront in Boston on August 26, 2014. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 29: (L-R) Amy Robach, Ginger Zee, Lara Spencer, David Muir, and Brad Paisley speak on stage during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: (L-R) Robin Roberts, David Muir, and Amy Robach dance on stage while the band Magic! performs on ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: (L-R) Ginger Zee, David Muir, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, Amy Robach, Lara Spencer, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line visit ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: (L-R) President of ABC News James Goldston, Barbara Walters, ABC News anchor David Muir and Chairman of the Walt Disney Company Bob Iger attend the 'Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: (L-R) ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer; ABC News anchor David Muir and ABC 'Good Morning America' anchor Robin Roberts attend the dedication ceremony as ABC News headquarters in New York is proclaimed 'The Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
ABC NEWS - ABC News covers the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, 8/28/12, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, DIANE SAWYER
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 03: Journalist David Muir (R) and guest attend the Bloomberg & Vanity Fair cocktail reception following the 2014 WHCA Dinner at Villa Firenze on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/VF14/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: David Muir visits The Empire State Building on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: David Muir visits The Empire State Building on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: (L-R) Journalist David Muir, Kelly Ripa, President of Disney/ABC Anne Sweeney, Dean at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Lorraine Branham and Michael Strahan attend the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Journalist David Muir attends the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - (airs 1.25.13) ABC News’ David Muir guest co-hosts “Guy Day Friday”; Drew Barrymore introduces her new makeup line, “Flower”; “Real Life Hot Topics” with a brother and sister from Iowa, separated as children, placed into foster care 65 years ago and recently reunited through Facebook. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/Disney-ABC via Getty Images) WHOOPI GOLDBERG, JOY BEHAR, DAVID MUIR, SHERRI SHEPHERD, ELISABETH HASSELBECK
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige are guests on 'Good Morning America,' 1/28/13, airing on the ABc Televsion Network. (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, ELIZABETH VARGAS, GEORGE STEPHAOPOULOS, LARA SPENCER, SAM CHAMPION
ABC NEWS - ABC News' David Muir follows the 2012 Republican Race from Manchester, New Hampshire. Coverage of the election airs on all ABC News Platforms. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Rocco DiSpirito shares easy recipes to help you slim down on 'Good Morning America,' 7/19/11 on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR, ROCCO DISPIRITO
ABC NEWS - From London, ABC News broadcasts live from Media Village at Buckingham Palace, 4/29/11, as viewers are taken inside the Royal Wedding with comprehensive coverage across all ABC News platforms.(Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR, DIANE SAWYER, BARBARA WALTERS
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - David Muir operates the GMA Smart Screen on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 3/21/11. GM11 (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)DAVID MUIR
NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: (L-R) Anchors Diane Sawyer and David Muir with performer Reba McEntire (middle) attend ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 21, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Janette Pellegrini/WireImage)
ABC World News weekend anchor David Muir and model Petra Nemcova attend the 10th Annual Women Who Care luncheon benefitting United Cerebral Palsy of New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street on Thursday, May 5, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22: David Muir (L) and Nasri Atweh of the band Magic! jump on stage during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - JUNE 25: ABC News today, June 25, 2014, announced new roles for anchors Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and David Muir. Sawyer will lead new programming tackling big issues and extraordinary interviews. Stephanopoulos, Anchor of Good Morning America and This Week, has been promoted to Chief Anchor of ABC News, handling special reports and breaking news. Muir, Anchor of 20/20, will become Anchor and Managing Editor of World News starting September 2. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, DIANE SAWYER, JAMES GOLDSTON
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Journalist David Muir attends the Dior & Vanity Fair with The Cinema Society premiere of The Weinstein Company's 'The Immigrant' at The Paley Center for Media on May 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - OneRepublic performs live from Central Park on 'Good Morning America,' 7/12/13, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) DAVID MUIR, ONE REPUBLIC
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12: David Muir (2nd L) and Lara Spencer (C) interview (L-R) Drew Brown, Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Eddie Fisher, and Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic during ABC's 'Good Morning America' at Rumsey Playfield on July 12, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Donald Newhouse(L) and ABC NewÕs David Muir attends the 2013 Newhouse Mirror Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
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BY DAVID BAUDER

NEW YORK (AP) - Among the stories David Muir will introduce during his first week as ABC's "World News" anchor is one he reported about a generation of Syrian refugees missing out on an education.

Besides detailing a hidden aspect of the civil war, the story serves a dual purpose: to signal viewers - and his bosses - that Muir wants to get out of the office for work as much as he can.

"A huge part of this for me was a promise that I was not going to be tethered to the anchor desk," said Muir, who officially replaces Diane Sawyer Monday night.

Muir, 40, joins NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams and Scott Pelley of the "CBS Evening News" at one of the three jobs generally considered the pinnacle of American broadcast news. Muir is also a generation younger than the 55-year-old Williams and Pelley, 57.

Already a familiar face as "World News" weekend anchor and Sawyer's sub on weeknights, Muir has groomed himself for the job since he was a child.

As a latchkey child of divorced parents growing up near Syracuse, N.Y., Muir took comfort from the news "family" that appeared on his television each evening. He watched ABC's Peter Jennings, trying to guess who would be named "person of the week." At age 12, he wrote to Syracuse anchorman Ron Curtis for advice on how to get in the business and had an internship at WTVH-TV by the next summer.

Muir became so familiar that the newsroom had a spot on the wall to mark how much he'd grown each year. When he was still at nearby Ithaca College, WTVH hired Muir to anchor the weekend news.

After five years at WTVH, he moved on to Boston and, in 2003, came to ABC News. Hurricane Katrina was one of the first places his work attracted attention.

"All of the elements of being a news anchor he does superbly," said David Westin, the ABC News president who hired Muir. He shows versatility in reporting, interviewing and working in the studio, he said.

Network anchors traveling to stories used to be more commonplace, and when Westin appointed Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas to replace Jennings a decade ago, it was on the theory that at least one would be on the road regularly. It has become less frequent, in part due to costs. Muir considers the reporting an important part of his identity and, he believes, what viewers expect of him.

"The evening news is evolving rapidly, and I think we have to be extraordinarily nimble," he said.

The dinnertime newscasts have been shadowed by predictions of their demise for about as long as Muir has been working. But each has seen its viewership increase over the past year. Muir, who frequently tweets during commercial breaks, said the programs' abilities to sum up the day's most important stories is valuable at a time people are bombarded with information.

Andrew Tyndall, a consultant who monitors the content of evening newscasts, said "World News" tends to be faster-paced with a higher story count when Muir is anchor. Muir resists the notion that he packs the broadcast with more material, but said he wants to keep some things short so more important stories have room to breathe.

Muir will start "World News" with a new executive producer, Almin Karamehmedovic, who he said shares "a thirst to travel the world."

It's difficult to judge at the start where a new anchor will take a broadcast. Westin likened it to a president appointing a new Supreme Court justice - the person may not turn out as liberal or conservative as was initially thought.

Tyndall's name is mud at ABC because of a report last winter criticizing the "Disneyfication" of "World News," specifically a greater emphasis on consumer and entertainment news at the expense of global concerns.

"When I see reports like that or words like that, I think of the moment when I'm standing in Tahrir Square with a producer and photographer and Mubarak's men come charging in on their horses with their whips," Muir said. "Or when we were in Mogadishu and were fired upon by forces linked to Al Qaida."

He added, "I'd be very hard-pressed to tell them that what we're doing out there is 'soft.'"

Muir's role will be slightly different than that of his predecessor; ABC said. George Stephanopoulos will be the network's main anchor on breaking news reports. Muir said that's fine, and it ties in to his desire not to always be deskbound.

He recently unearthed the letter that the Syracuse anchorman sent back to the advice-seeking 12-year-old, which today sounds prescient.

"Competition in television news is keen," Curtis wrote. "There's always room for the right person. It could be you."

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