Diane Sawyer was suffering from ‘exhaustion’  while hosting last night’s marathon election special on ABC, according to senior  network sources.

The legendary TV anchor, 66, left many  viewers asking if she had begun celebrating yesterday’s election results a bit  too early.

Taking the helm of ABC News’ coverage, the  veteran journalist spoke more slowly than usual – while seeming to prop herself  on outstretched arms at the anchor desk she shared with George  Stephanopoulos.

However, today, a source told MailOnline:  ‘Diane’s fine, she’s exhausted’ – while others admitted Miss Sawyer’s lack of  sleep may have come at the ‘expense of the broadcast’.

The source added: ‘Diane’s been up for days  and she’s had many sleepless nights. She was covering the hurricane and then  preparing for the election broadcast.’

‘If you knew Diane you’d realise she’s one of  the hardest working people on television.

‘She likes to cram things in, she likes to  have every fact at her finger tips.

But the source said that rumours that  Miss  Sawyer had been a tad tipsy had been met with ‘a lot of laughter’  around the  office.   

Another TV source said: ‘I think that Diane’s  tiredness came at the expense of the broadcast.’                                                           

Miss Sawyer’s behavior was met with concern  soon after she went on air at the ABC studios in Times Square

‘OK,’ she said at one point around 10 p.m.  EST, ‘I wanna – can we have our music, because this is another big one here?

‘Minnesota, we’re ready to project Minnesota,  rrright now. … Well, tonight we know that President Barack has won Minnesota,’  she rambled on, stumbling over the president’s name, calling him ‘Orama, before  correcting herself.’

Her name was soon trending with unflattering  posts, while a new Twitter handle, Drunk Diane Sawyer, collected hundreds of  followers.

‘A bit tipsy,’ ”hammered’ or ‘on pain  killers, muscle relaxers, benzos or some combination’ were among the jeering  explanations.

Singer Josh Groban ‏tweeted: ‘I’ll have what  Diane Sawyer is having,’ while Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina Manzo – no stranger to controversy herself – added: ‘I want whatever Diane Sawyer is  taking or drinking tonight.’

Another likened it to an episode of HBO’s  drama ‘The Newsroom,’ where Will McAvoy, the fictitious anchorman, had eaten a  couple of pot brownies before unexpectedly being summoned to his anchor desk to  report a news story.

Some tweeters joked that a more fun-loving  Sawyer was a ploy by ABC to boost viewership.


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