Hugh Downs vents about ''20/20'''s move

By Nicholas Fonseca
June 22, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Who says chivalry is dead? Barbara Walters’ longtime ”20/20” cohort Hugh Downs is leaping to her defense in the scheduling flap that has the ABC newsmag bumped from its Friday roost by Sela Ward’s ”Once and Again.” ”I left at the right time,” grouses Downs, 20/20’s usually genteel former coanchor. ”It’s as though they’re trying to kill it. [Walters has] enough else going for her. I’m surprised she doesn’t bail out.” But Downs says history has been kind to ”20/20”’s moves: In 1987, it moved from Thursday to Friday to accommodate a movie-of-the-week. The result was the show’s 14-year stronghold in its time slot. ”Everybody said…the audience will not follow you,” notes Downs. ”Apparently, we managed to violate that rule. So, maybe they’ll do the same thing now.”

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