Diane Sawyer's election night performance became a hot topic on Twitter Tuesday night, as some viewers were left wondering whether the veteran journalist had begun "celebrating" a bit early.
Co-anchoring ABC News' coverage, Sawyer struck a different manner from her practiced, straight-news-delivering style.
She spoke more slowly than usual while seeming to prop herself on outstretched arms at the anchor desk she shared with George Stephanopoulos.
"OK," she said at one point around 10 p.m. ET, "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.
Perhaps Sawyer was just weary from covering the recent torrent of news. But whatever the case, the Twitterverse quickly took notice and began cracking wise.
Her name was soon trending with unflattering posts, while a new Twitter handle, Drunk Diane Sawyer, collected hundreds of followers. An ABC spokesman did not comment.
"A bit tipsy," "hammered" or "on pain killers, muscle relaxers, benzos or some combination" were among the jeering explanations. 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.
Singer Josh Groban and talk show host Ricki Lake also got in on the jokes:
I'll have what Diane Sawyer is having.-- josh groban (@joshgroban) November 7, 2012
That's funny. "@tmbg: And Diane Sawyer declares tonight's winner is... chardonnay!"-- Ricki Lake (@RickiLake) November 7, 2012
Some tweeters joked that a more fun-loving Sawyer was a ploy by ABC to boost viewership. Several Twitter users said they were drawn to the network by word that Sawyer was behaving, by one description, "a bit wacky."
"Bad night for Romney," one tweeter summed up. "Worse night for Diane Sawyer?"