Peter Jennings

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Peterjennings.jpg
Peter Jennings, anchoring a newscast in October 2004.

Peter Charles Jennings (born July 29, 1938 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is the lead news anchor for the ABC network. He has anchored ABC World News Tonight since 1983.

Peter Jennings is the son of Charles Jennings, a leading journalist for CBC in Canada. Jennings is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, having become an American citizen in July 2003.

Jennings replaced Frank Reynolds after his unexpected death in 1983. The president of ABC News Roone Arledge first chose Tom Brokaw, NBC's White House Correspondent, to take the top job as main news anchor. Brokaw turned down the offer and took over as sole anchor on the NBC Nightly News. Jennings was then selected, starting on September 5, 1983, and has become a very influential TV personality. On December 31, 1999, 175 million people tuned into at a least a portion of his network's Millennium Eve special ABC 2000, also known as ABC 2000 Today.

Jennings is sometimes accused of "liberal bias" by certain conservative groups, such as the conservative Media Research Center.[1] (http://www.mrc.org/realitycheck/2003/fax20030903pj.asp) However, supporters of Jennings contend that most critical reports of him consist of inaccuracies and/or out-of-context quotes. One critic is former ABC News reporter Peter Collins, who claims Jennings rewrote his piece on the 10th anniversary of the Sandinistas to make the account more favorable to the Sandinistas.

Jennings remains the only lead anchor left in evening network news to have continued in the job for over 20 years, after the retirements of Tom Brokaw in December 2004 and Dan Rather in March 2005. Jennings had been a close second in the ratings behind Tom Brokaw for several years and now trails Brokaw's successor Brian Williams.

On April 5, 2005, Jennings, who had quit smoking in 1988 but briefly resumed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, informed viewers through a taped message that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He also stated that he would start chemotherapy treatment the following week, but would continue to host World News Tonight when possible. Since his announcement, ABC News's Charles Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas have filled in for him as temporary anchors.

Jennings has been married four times. He and his current wife, Kayce Freed, live in New York City. He has two children, Elizabeth and Christopher, from a previous marriage.

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