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Eastern; while in that timeslot, it ranked at 21st place in the annual Nielsen ratings by the 1991–92 season.
It aired in that same Friday time slot until the fall of 2001, when ABC briefly replaced the program with the scripted family drama series Once and Again, only for 20/20 to return to the lineup again four months later; it has basically retained the timeslot ever since. timeslot on October 12, 2007, it reverted to its usual time two weeks later.
Barbara Walters joined the program in 1979 in a role something less than a co-anchor and soon became a regular special contributor in the fall of 1981.
In 1984, she became Hugh Downs's equal, thus reuniting a duo which had already anchored together on NBC's Today from 1964 to 1971.
The anchors on the premiere telecast of 20/20 were renowned Esquire magazine editor Harold Hayes, who also served as the program's senior producer, and famed Time art critic Robert Hughes.
The show's debut received largely harsh reviews; The New York Times described it as "dizzyingly absurd" and The Washington Post denounced it as "the trashiest stab at candycane journalism yet." In his autobiography Roone: A Memoir, Roone Arledge recalled that probably the most embarrassing part of that initial program was the Claymation segments featuring caricatures representing then-President Jimmy Carter (singing "Georgia on My Mind") and Walter Cronkite (closing the show intoning, "That's the way it was").
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This lasted until John Miller was hired as a permanent co-host of the program in 2002; Miller never got very comfortable in the anchor chair, and a year later, he jumped at the chance to rejoin law enforcement.On January 29, 2013, it was announced that Chris Cuomo would leave ABC News and 20/20 for CNN to co-host the cable network's new morning news program, New Day; on the same day, ABC announced David Muir would join Elizabeth Vargas as the new co-anchor of the program, in addition to continuing as weekend anchor of ABC World News (a role he retains after being appointed to main anchor of the since-renamed ABC World News Tonight in September 2014).The program expanded once again on March 2, 2013, with the debut of 20/20 Saturday, which mainly features rebroadcasts of archived stories from previous editions of 20/20 (mainly those dating back as early as 2008) in the same single topic format as the flagship Friday broadcasts.By early 2002, 20/20 once again was airing only in its original Friday timeslot.