Is This ABC News' Strategy or just Coincidence?


It seems like just about everyone at ABC is unveiling their personal demons.

The question, is it just a coincidence or a new strategy in the world of "all about me TV"?

The Hollywood Reporter writes that into every life a little rain must fall, and it's obvious to viewers of ABC News that its anchors lately have endured a downpour. One after another has made headlines for disclosing personal travails.

Nightline co-anchor Dan Harris confessed to cocaine and ecstasy use to palliate depression that set in after covering wars in the Middle East. He has chronicled his journey from on-air panic attack to self-discovery through meditation in a book, 10% Happier. Then, on Feb. 7, Los Angeles-based correspondentCecilia Vega revealed her father's heroin addiction in the course of reporting on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas — a frequent fill-in for Robin Roberts last year on Good Morning America while Roberts was battling a life-threatening blood disease (chronicled on GMA) — in November admitted to being an alcoholic. A few days after Vargas' revelation, correspondent Amy Robach divulged she had breast cancer and would undergo a bilateral mastectomy. Extraordinarily, Robach's cancer was discovered after a live, on-air mammogram as part of a GMA segment. (She later was featured on People's cover.)

To be sure, ABC's anchors are not the only ones sharing: Al Roker's dramatic weight loss was chronicled on NBC; Tamron Hall, Lester Holt and other African-American anchors have talked about being racially profiled; and NBC correspondents Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk scored airtime for the birth of their daughter last summer.

Still, ABC News' recent trend toward making its anchors the story has prompted cynical eye-rolling among some competitors. But ABC executives are adamant that there is no larger strategy afoot.

"The confluence of personal stories coming out of this news division is absolutely not by design," ABC News senior vp Jeffrey Schneider tells THR. "They just reflect real life and real things happening to real people. It is our belief that telling those stories in a relatable way is the best way to deal with them."

After all, in the social media age, personal disclosure, even from the once buttoned-up TV anchors, no longer is taboo.

So is the new TV news strategy to show which station or network has the most screwed up anchors?

Local station might want to get their anchors hitting the crack pipe now....the May book is right around the corner.