From Beltway to the biz

NEW YORK — Leaving politics for television probably won’t be too hard for Rep. Susan Molinari. The five-term New York Republican, who confirmed plans to resign Aug. 1 from Congress to become co-anchor of CBS News’ “Saturday Morning” show, already has showbiz lingo down. Describing the new program Wednesday, she said: “I envision it as ’60 Minutes’ meets ‘Rosie O’Donnell.’ “

The Saturday ayem show on CBS, which replaces a cartoon block from 9 to 11 a.m. in September, promises a soft mix of news and lifestyle features aimed at working parents, Molinari told reporters.

CBS News prexy Andrew Heyward took exception to criticism that Molinari lacks experience and could betray a conservative bias. “I don’t find it inherently troubling,” he said, adding that Molinari won’t offer opinion or commentary on news or political events. “It’s not as though we’re pulling a fast one on anybody; we’re not pretending she’s a Capitol Hill beat reporter.”

Her co-anchor, probably from within CBS, has yet to be named. But Molinari already provided a big publicity boost, especially in New York, where she represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn and is part of a political dynasty that includes her father and husband.

CBS’ next hurdle is gaining clearances for the show among restless affiliates, who have seen the Eye web’s ratings plummet against kidvid rivals like Fox and Nickelodeon.

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