ABC News president James Goldston announced on Friday, December 22, that following 20/20’s 40th season, Elizabeth Vargas will leave the company.
“She has decided to leave ABC News at the end of the newsmagazine’s 40th season in May to pursue new ventures,” Goldston said in a memo sent to staff.
“One of the best broadcasters in our business, Elizabeth holds an historic place at ABC. She is only the second woman ever to serve as coanchor of 20/20. She moved into that role — a daunting assignment to follow in the footsteps of our legendary Barbara Walters – with true determination to tell the stories from around the globe that explore important issues in depth and tap into significant moments in our culture,” he wrote.
During her time at ABC News, the 55-year-old journalist coanchorWorld News Tonight, World News Tonight Sunday as well as cohosted Good Morning America.
In his memo to staff, Goldston also referenced Vargas’ struggle with alcoholism, which she opened up about in 2013. “We were most proud of her courage and grace in telling her own story about her struggle with anxiety and alcoholism,” he wrote. “Her best-selling memoir [Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction] has helped so many people by raising awareness about the importance of finding treatment for millions who are still struggling. She continues to be an inspiration for us all.”
Vargas also addressed the staff in her own memo, explaining that she wanted to be the one to deliver the news. “I am sorry only to have to share this news with you as we celebrate the holidays. I had hoped to make this announcement after the first of the year,” she wrote.
Vargas will continue on 20/20 until season 40 wraps in May 2018.