Times Staff Writer

James Bellows, whom ABC hired in 1983 to develop a new magazine-format news series, will start life anew today with the network’s “World News Tonight” in the newly created position of executive editor.

Bellows, whose proposed “Seven Days” news-magazine series was shelved in January after more than six months of work on it last year, will be responsible for developing a distinctive style for “World News Tonight” and sharpening its writing, ABC says.

He also will work on its feature stories, an ABC spokeswoman in New York said when asked about Bellows’ new assignment. She said his new post had been suggested by William Lord, executive producer of “World News Tonight.”

She said that ABC News isn’t now actively working on another news-magazine series to join “20/20" on the network’s prime-time schedule.


But if ABC News executives decide to try another, she said, the fact that Bellows is working at “World News Tonight” “doesn’t preclude that he’d be involved.”

Prior to joining ABC, Bellows, 61, was managing editor of the syndicated show-biz news series, “Entertainment Tonight,” which he ran for nearly two years.

Previously a newspaperman, he had been editor of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner; editor of the now-defunct Washington Star; managing editor of the Miami News; editor of the New York Herald-Tribune (also defunct) and, from 1966 to 1974, associate editor of the Los Angeles Times.