NEW YORK -- Chris Wallace, outgoing NBC White House correspondent, will go all the way out to ABC, it was announced Tuesday.
Wallace, son of CBS '60 Minutes' correspondent Mike Wallace, will join ABC News -- probably by the end of January -- to become chief correspondent for a new prime-time news program to begin in 1989.
Wallace had been NBC's man at the White House for more than six years and was scheduled to be reassigned after the presidential inauguration next month.
No replacement had been named for Wallace at the White House, but NBC had already announced that Wallace's anchor job at 'Meet The Press' would be taken over by Garrick Utley.
The ABC News show Wallace will join is still in development, said ABC spokeswoman Joanne Berg, adding that the program is as yet untitled and Wallace will participate in its creation when he joins the network.
Already at work on the project are ABC News President Roone Arledge; Dorrance Smith, executive producer of 'This Week with David Brinkley,' 'The Health Show' and 'Weekend News'; and Phyllis McGrady, an ABC News executive producer.
Joanna Bistany, ABC vice president, said Wallace talked to her three years ago about joining her network but was unable to make the break.
She said she did not know the terms of Wallace's contract with ABC but added it was 'completed very quickly,' after negotiations started late last week.
Sam Donaldson, ABC's outgoing chief White House correspondent, said he was 'delighted' and 'very pleased' that Wallace,his journalistic rival, will be joining the network.
'I've always liked his work,' said Donaldson. 'I think he's going to be a plus.'
Wallace said, 'I'm very excited about it. ... ABC gave me a terrific challenge. It was very hard to make the break, but it was a terribly exciting offer I couldn't turn down.'
NBC's State Department correspondent, John Cochran, was expected to succeed Wallace as head of the network's White House staff. Andrea Mitchell, Wallace's colleague on the NBC White House staff, will be assigned to Capitol Hill as NBC's chief correspondent in January.