Diane Sawyer Almost a Lock for ABC Anchor | Notes, 'Sopranos' Fiction

Diane Sawyer Almost a Lock for ABC Anchor

Are we about to see a catfight on the evening news?

My sources now say that Diane Sawyer has secured the position of anchor of the nightly ABC network news show at 6:30 p.m. This, sadly, is because newly appointed anchor Bob Woodruff is recuperating from his terrible accident in Iraq. In addition, his co-anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, is pregnant.

Diane, coveted by all the networks, has apparently campaigned so hard for the 6:30 p.m. job that she's finally gotten it. As much as we love her, it's not like Diane was first choice, however. Bob and Liz were first and second, followed by Diane's "Good Morning America" co-anchor, Charlie Gibson.

But Charlie couldn't get the contract he wanted, which left Diane the default choice of ABC News chief David Westin.

According to what I've been told, Diane and ABC are so desperate to steal Katie Couric's thunder that they will get her in the anchor chair very quickly. Katie is still under contract to NBC, and can't even begin negotiations until May 15. By that time, Diane — who's been rotating with Gibson — could be settled in on a permanent basis.

Where this leaves Vargas is the remaining question. She could not have foreseen Woodruff's accident, and her pregnancy now is poorly timed. When Sawyer moves to nighttime, it's conceivable (pun intended) that Vargas will move to "Good Morning America." Woodruff, I am told, is at the beginning of a long recovery; the chances of his return as full-time anchor are slim to none.

As for Katie, she's crowing right now about the "Today" show's ratings. Usually, "Good Morning America" gets a boost from the Oscars on the Monday after the awards show. But the Oscar ratings were so poor this year that "Today" beat "Good Morning America" by 800,000 viewers on Monday. It was their best ever post-Oscar Monday rating (I still have no idea what Sawyer was doing post-Oscars, interviewing agent Bryan Lourd. He's a nice guy, but not exactly a household name.)

At the same time, Katie and Co. at "Today" made the best of disappointing network ratings at NBC for the Winter Olympics.

During the week of Feb. 20-26, "Today" posted 6.9 million viewers — 1.9 more than GMA.

So, women may soon be the anchors on the evening news for two of the four television networks.

Barbara Walters and Connie Chung, who were each rejected by viewers in different decades, will probably have a lot to say when that day comes. And it's coming fast.

Notes: Bianca's Loss; Dion's Triumph, 'Sopranos' Spoilers

Condolences to the lovely and beloved Bianca Jagger, who lost her 81-year-old mother, Dora, this week. Bianca has been staying in Los Angeles and caring for her mom, who suffered from motor neurone disease.

"It is a terrible disease," she recently said in an interview. "You begin not to be able to speak, then you cannot breathe. She is paralyzed, but she can move her left arm and she can swallow."

Jagger, who works tirelessly for world causes, is still battling her New York landlord over a chronic mold problem...

Dion DiMucci, known simply as Dion, is a seminal character in the history of rock 'n' roll. Now Razor & Tie Records has picked up his blues album, "Bronx in Blue," for release. If you're under 40 and have no idea who Dion is, he's the man who gave us "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue." Young New Yorkers couldn't know this, since CBS/Infinity stupidly and cruelly shut down WCBS FM. But Los Angelenos still have K-Earth 101 FM, thank goodness...

No one can shut Brian Oxman up. The once-suspended-from-practice lawyer actually called a Gary, Ind., newspaper and offered himself as Janet Jackson's spokesman, which he is not.

Michael Jackson's former attorney, Tom Mesereau, tried over and over again to put a cork in Oxman's beak, but nothing worked. The funny thing is, media outlets continue to use Oxman as a “Jackson family lawyer." When will they learn?...

Competing screenings last night at the ArcLight in Hollywood for “Failure to Launch" and “The Inside Man" pulled big lines outside in cold weather. That's a good sign for the box office in the near future. Jodie Foster, by the way, is said to have never looked better than she does in the latter film...

The festivities at Soho House on Sunday night, following the Oscars, hosted by agents Rick Yorn and Patrick Whitesell, are said to have concluded at the astounding time of 7 a.m. Monday...

Bobby Brown's reality show on Bravo is coming back, but don't expect to see much of his wife, Whitney Houston. I'm told that the couple is really living apart, and that Bobby has been all over Los Angeles lookin' for love in all the wrong places...

Another Bravo show, "Top Chef," featuring Billy Joel's beautiful wife Katie Lee as host, is a hit. Do catch the rebroadcast of the initial episode this week. "Top Chef" is a reality show for foodies, and it is as well-cast as anything I've seen. It will also make you very hungry, so be sure to eat before the show comes on...

Famed photographer Bob Gruen's talented son, Kris, plays the Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday at midnight...

Sunday night, the FOX Searchlight film "Thank You for Smoking," directed by Jason Reitman, gets the big premiere treatment at the Museum of Modern Art, sponsored by Gary Barnett's Extell Development. Star Aaron Eckhart will be on hand, and I'm told that a famous real-life married movie couple — not actually in the film, but merely fans — are surprise guests...

Finally: fiction from "The Sopranos" premiere to which no press was invited. Since we've been to hundreds of "Sopranos" events in the past, here's a synopsis of what likely happened at the Museum of Modern Art: Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior) serenaded the crowd, while Lorraine Bracco, with her young boyfriend in tow, poured her newly branded red wine for everyone. James Gandolfini (Tony) shied away from interviews, claiming that he had nothing to say, really...

Creator/writer David Chase insisted this was the last season for the show, while his agent and other sources told us that he's actually got ideas for 20 more episodes and a Broadway musical version...

There's also talk of a cross-over with HBO's new polygamy drama, "Big Love", in which star Bill Paxton will try to entice Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) to become his newest wife. Tony and Paulie Walnuts drive to Utah and threaten to kill the Mormon Tabernacle Choir...

And here's a spoiler: in episode three, Carmela (Edie Falco) whacks her friend Angie after what she considers a betrayal of confidence during a Pilates class...