'That's Our Report for Tonight'

Ted Koppel signed off from "Nightline" after serving as the show's only anchor in 25 years by asking his fans to give his replacements a chance.

After 42 years with ABC News, Koppel completed his run with the late night news program last night. He will be followed on the program by a team of anchors -- Martin Bashir, Cynthia McFadden, and Terry Moran.

"Trust me, the transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal," said Koppel. "[Walter] Cronkite begat [Dan] Rather, [John] Chancellor begat [Tom] Brokaw, [Frank] Reynolds begat [Peter] Jennings. And each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right.

"You've always been very nice to me, so give this new anchor team for 'Nightline' a fair break. If you don't, I promise you, the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot," said Koppel.

He then signed off with his typical refrain: "That's our report for tonight. I'm Ted Koppel in Washington. For all of us here in ABC News, good night."

The broadcast looked back at a three-part series that aired in 1995 and told the story of Morrie Schwartz, a retired sociology professor from Brandeis University who, at the time, was dying of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The series caught the attention of a former student, sportscaster Mitch Albom, who in turn began weekly visits with his professor that led to the national best-seller, "Tuesdays with Morrie."

"In thinking about what to do for a final broadcast, the Morrie interview is certainly among my favorites," Koppel said before the broadcast. "Some of 'Nightline's' most fascinating shows over the years have featured people no one has ever heard of, and Morrie is a perfect example."

Long Odyssey With ABC News

Koppel's first job in journalism was as a desk assistant with WMCA Radio in New York City. In 1963, he joined ABC News as a general assignment reporter. From 1971 to 1980, he was ABC News' chief diplomatic correspondent, and for two years, beginning in 1975, he anchored "The ABC Saturday Night News."

Koppel is best known for his work as the anchor and principal reporter for "Nightline," a late-night news program launched in 1980 as a nightly update on the Iran hostage crisis. Over the past 25 years, Koppel became synonymous with the show's format of background reports on current events, followed by interviews with newsmakers.

Koppel has won 41 Emmy Awards, 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, 12 duPont-Columbia Awards, 10 Overseas Press Club Awards, two George Polk Awards and two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

"Nightline's" new co-anchors will assume their duties Monday, Nov. 28, with Moran in Washington and McFadden and Bashir in New York.

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