SHORT TAKES : Donaldson: Too Nice to Sawyer

From Times Wire Services

ABC newsman Sam Donaldson says he might be too nice.

The acid-tongued reporter pulled his punches during verbal sparring with "PrimeTime Live" co-anchor Diane Sawyer when the low-rated show premiered last year, he said in the Aug. 18 issue of TV Guide.

"I could not bring myself to slap Diane across the chops," he said. "With George Will (his sparring partner on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley"), I have no problem. Maybe it's a sexist thing; I don't know. I haven't analyzed the motivation."

Despite the show's failure to attract a large audience, Donaldson said pairing him with Sawyer was no mistake.

"I used to think I was the hardest worker in this business," he said. "I've at least got one rival. . . . Diane and I are a team, and we usually agree on what we've done that's dumb and what we've done that's on the mark. In theory, we ought to have been Astaire and Rogers."

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