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September 2, 2014

Robin Roberts Lands ABC Primetime Specials

by Leonard Jacobs, posted Nov 10th 2009 6:00PM
With Diane Sawyer preparing to go head to head against Katie Couric on the evening news, and with the legendary Barbara Walters, at 80, still competitive but starting to slow down, ABC has to start grooming more women for its news franchises. No one seems to be in a better position to take advantage of this than the respected, if not redoubtable, Robin Roberts.With Diane Sawyer preparing to go head to head against Katie Couric on the evening news, and with the legendary Barbara Walters, at 80, still competitive but starting to slow down, ABC has to start grooming more women for its news franchises. No one seems to be in a better position to take advantage of this than the respected, if not redoubtable, Robin Roberts.

The Hollywood Reporter recently noted that while no replacement for Sawyer on 'Good Morning America' has been named, the network isn't letting Roberts think that she's anything on their radar but a potential supernova. Much in the mold of the 'Barbara Walters Specials,' Roberts has two primetime specials of her own coming up, notably one in which she interviews Janet Jackson, airing Nov. 18.

As THR observed, Roberts, who has been with ABC for 19 years, has her current contract running out in the spring of 2010. Reading the network tea leaves is a notoriously dicey business, but one can assume that if the network got behind Roberts' efforts to land a dialogue with Jackson -- who was known to be extremely selective about interviews even before Michael Jackson's death last June -- it's a sign ABC means to curry some favor with favored talent. If the specials do well, it could give Roberts leverage when it comes to contract negotiations, which are probably already underway.

The second special airs first: 'All Access Nashville,' tonight at 10 PM EST. This is a fluffier fare, certainly, featuring interviews with country-music stars and even President Obama opining on the genre. Still, not a bad get for a woman who may well be ABC's next big deal.

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