Gumbel marks time

Idled anchor begins work on century's top 100

NEW YORK — Bryant Gumbel has started working on his first major assignment since his “Public Eye” newsmag halted production earlier this month.

The $7 million-per-year anchor will host the next installment of “The Time 100,” a CBS News-produced series tied to the newsmag’s continuing list of the most influential movers and shakers of the 20th century. Set to air the first week in December, the hourlong spec — subtitled “Builders and Titans” — will focus on the business leaders who’ve shaped the century.

Gumbel will take an active part in the special, conducting many of the interviews for the hour, insiders said.

While Time is keeping a tight lid on which biz mavens will land on its list, it seems a safe bet that Microsoft topper Bill Gates will make the cut, which could mean a Gumbel-Gates one-on-one is in the works.

And then what?

As for what else might be on Gumbel’s future, a provision in his contract with CBS calls for several primetime interview specials from the newsman. Published reports have had Gumbel taking over from Dan Rather as host of the Eye web’s “48 Hours,” but sources indicate that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

“Public Eye” was not on CBS’ announced fall schedule in May, but continued producing original episodes through this month with an eye on landing a midseason slot. The chances of that happening took a major hit last month when CBS decided to shut down production of the newsmag.

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