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World News Now (WNN) is ABC's overnight news program. Its tone is often lighthearted, irreverent, and humorous. A number of well-known news personalities, including Thalia Assuras, Aaron Brown, Kevin Newman, Alison Stewart, Liz Cho, and Anderson Cooper, anchored WNN early in their careers.

The show is produced and airs live in three half-hour segments, from 2:00 a.m. ET through 3:30 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday mornings. At 3:30 a.m. ET, the network rebroadcasts the show (in some cases multiple times) until 4:30 a.m. local time, at which time America This Morning is aired.

Jeremy Hubbard was named co-anchor of WNN on March 17, 2008; Vinita Nair was named Hubbard's co-anchor on September 17, 2008. Previously, WNN had been anchored by Ryan Owens and Taina Hernandez. Hernandez left the show on December 18, 2007, to spend more time with her children, while Owens announced on February 29, 2008, that he was leaving the show to become a full time correspondent for ABC News.

On the September 22, 2009 broadcast of World News Now, the program became the first network overnight newscast to broadcast in high definition.

Regular segments

  • Top Stories
  • Weather
  • the SKINNY -- An entertainment news and gossip segment.
  • Morning Papers (announced with the voice-over "World News Now delivers: your morning papers!")

Special segments

At the halfway point in each half hour, a special segment is presented. Some examples include:

  • Nightline – The first minutes of the primary topic of the prior evening's Nightline is showcased.
  • This Week (Monday mornings only) – The "Roundtable" segment, a debate of pundits from both sides of politics, is featured.
  • "ABC News Vault" – Somewhat of a "This Day in History" segment, a story from a given date in the past, having some relevance to the present is shown.
  • "American Landscape" – A major national or international story is rebroadcast, seen from the perspective of a local ABC station or affiliate that covers it.
  • "GizWiz" – with Dick DeBartolo talks about and demonstrates the newest gadgets and technology.
  • "Viewers' Voice" - A segment where the anchors read viewers opinions about a specific topic from the night before from their Facebook fan page or their e-mail.
  • "Insomniac Theater" - Every Monday the anchors give their opinion on the movie releases over the weekend.

Other segments

  • Randomly, throughout the broadcast, a "new e-mail" sound effect will be heard. This is then followed by the ABC News announcer Bill Rice reading aloud an e-mail from a viewer. The anchors then respond (sometimes humorously) to the message.

  • The final segment usually consists of the anchors discussing the news, their lives, or the day in general. Some half hours feature a discussion of headlines and smaller stories appearing in the new day's papers from around the country (similar to the segment on CNN's defunct Newsnight, as Aaron Brown and producer David Bohrman brought said segment from Brown's WNN tenure). Friday mornings close with one or another version of the "World News Polka," usually performed by the composer, comedian Barry Mitchell.

  • When an anchor of numerous broadcasts finally leaves, a ceremony of sorts is held on their last broadcast. As the first few anchors moved on, cardboard cutouts were placed in the rafters of the studio for the "Anchor Hall of Fame." Today, this is done with a graphics sequence of a head-shot of the anchor moved into a graphic of the original set's rafters and monitors.



In late 1991 and early 1992, WNN and rival newscasts like CBS' Up to the Minute and NBC's Nightside were created to compete for viewer demand driven originally by CNN's 24-hour coverage of the Gulf War, and to supply local affiliates with overnight programming. The original working title was "World News Overnight" ; "World News Now" was adopted prior to the first broadcast.

In the tradition of NBC News Overnight, it has featured serious as well as offbeat news interspersed with odd features such as the "World News Polka" played by Barry Mitchell on the accordion, video footage of dancing camels, and laughter coming from off camera. Weather predictions are made for obscure and exotic places around the world, some of which have ties to the show for various reasons.

It also often replays clips from Nightline, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and other ABC News programming. It has been an apparent training ground for new news anchors (see list below) who go on to higher profile network or local affiliate positions. The show is also unique for its interactive segments, some of which pioneered the email communication that is commonly used on newscasts today. The ABC News WNN Message board has been known to offer viewers questions and comments from the anchors themselves, during the course of the show.


Yvonne Marie Andres, Greg Fitzgerald, Victor Dorff on the set of WNN
On Thanksgiving morning in 1995, World News Now was the first television program to be broadcast live on the Internet, using the CU-SeeMe interface. Victor Dorff, a producer of WNN at the time, arranged to have the show simulcast on the Internet daily for a six-month trial period. CU-SeeMe was also used in a taped interview segment in which anchor Kevin Newman and Global Schoolhouse director and founder Yvonne Marie Andres discussed the future of computers in communication.

World News Now was used as the prototype for Fred, ABC's plan to run a cable news channel. The plan was floated in 1995 and was later dropped due to issues with cable carriage, including competition with the recently started MSNBC and Fox News Channel. World News Now also competes for overnight viewers with CBS' Up to the Minute and NBC's All Night entertainment block.

In the fall of 1998, ABC News experienced a labor dispute, seeing support employees locked out for several months. While World News This Morning continued to be produced in New York Citymarker with substitute production staff, World News Now moved to the Londonmarker news bureau. Mark Mullen returned to WNN during the last month of the lockout.


World News Now was one of the first shows to webcast; between 1999 and 2001, free live streaming was on the ABC News web site. In 2005, the free behind-the-scenes webcast returned.

On June 8, 2006, ABC White House Correspondent Martha Raddatz learned of the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi near Baqubahmarker, Iraqmarker. Upon confirmation of the tip, ABC launched a special report at 2:38 AM EDT, anchored by WNN team Ron Corning and Taina Hernandez. The show, normally repeated on tape after the initial broadcast, instead went live for all time zones and into follow-up program World News This Morning. The on-air and behind-the-scenes staff stayed on until Good Morning America began and took over coverage at 7:00 AM ET.

In January, 2007, WNN celebrated its fifteenth anniversary with the brief resurrection of the National Temperature Index (see below) and a new version of the "World News Polka."

On Thursday, August 2, 2007, WNN abandoned its normal format and went with nearly-continuous coverage of the I-35W Mississippi River bridgemarker collapse in Minneapolis. WNN coverage was anchored by Hernández and Stephanie Sy and continued into America This Morning.

During the week of January 7, 2008, WNN celebrated 16 years on the air with segments looking back on the early days of the broadcast and its anchors.

Previous segments

  • Their News Now – World News Now would check in with a different news producer at a local ABC affiliate around the country each night to see what stories they were working on in their local market. This was usually rotated between four or five local markets, which included Seattle and Denver, and was discontinued sometime in 2005 when "American Landscape" was expanded to a nightly segment.

  • World News Now "InsomniACTS" – Local jazz bands typically from around the New York City area would be invited into the studio to play a number on-the-air.

  • World News Knows – A quick useless knowledge fact flashed on the screen some nights after a return from a commercial.

  • WNN also featured a full sportscast, which became a scene of comedic fodder for many anchors on the show since many of them did not have a great deal of experience calling sports highlights. This was later replaced by a scoreboard graphic displaying sports scores coming out of a commercial break, leaving time for more general segments.

  • Asia Business Now – A daily segment involving Asia business with an anchor from Japan's NHK network. This was referenced in the early editions of the "World New Polka" as "business news from Tokyo."

  • BBC News - Declan Curry and other BBC anchors presented mostly lighter stories from "across the pond."

  • Financial News from the BBC - again with Declan Curry or other BBC anchors, presenting an update on the European financial markets from the London Stock Exchange. The BBC presenters typically stood in front of a video wall looking out on a London intersection, and sometimes a small counter at the bottom of the screen would note the number of double-decker buses that passed by in the background.

  • World News Then - "World News Now" would present segments from ABC news program archives that related to or contrasted with a current event. As a bonus, they would also often show a commercial or two that aired during the original broadcast.


Taina Hernandez has been criticized in the national press for laughing during various segments, some of them serious. She laughed through the story of Owen Wilson's attempted suicide and she and Owens have giggled through segments on terrorism and the Iraq war. These laughing fits have earned her the nickname "The Laughing Taina"

WNN anchor timeline

From To Anchors
01/1992 05/1993 Aaron Brown and Lisa McRee
05/1993 08/1993 Aaron Brown and Thalia Assuras
08/1993 11/1994 Thalia Assuras and Boyd Matson
11/1994 04/1996 Thalia Assuras and Kevin Newman
04/1996 01/1997 Thalia Assuras and Mark Mullen
01/1997 12/1998 Mark Mullen and Asha Blake
01/1999 02/2000 JuJu Chang and Anderson Cooper
02/2000 08/2000 Anderson Cooper and Alison Stewart
08/2000 02/2002 Alison Stewart and Derek McGinty
02/2002 06/2003 Derek McGinty and Liz Cho
07/2003 12/2003 Andrea Stassou and David Muir
12/2003 08/2004 David Muir and Tamala Edwards
08/2004 01/2005 Tamala Edwards and Ron Corning
01/2005 12/2005 Ron Corning and Heather Cabot
12/2005 08/2006 Ron Corning and Taina Hernandez
08/2006 02/2007 Taina Hernandez and Hari Sreenivasan
02/2007 12/2007 Taina Hernandez and Ryan Owens
12/2007 02/2008 Ryan Owens and alternating subs Gigi Stone, Christianne Klein and Tanya Rivero
02/2008 03/2008 Tanya Rivero and alternating subs Gigi Stone and Christianne Klein
03/2008 05/2008 Jeremy Hubbard and alternating subs Gigi Stone, Christianne Klein, and Tanya Rivero
05/2008 Present Jeremy Hubbard and Vinita Nair


  1. TVNewser
  2. December 1995: * FYI: regular broadcasting of ABC's news via CU-SeeMe
  4. A New Chief of ABC News, With Arledge In the Shadows - New York Times
  5. TVNewser
  6. Golden Gate Weather Services- Experience
  7. Weather Corner (12/31/2002)

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