CBS may ax Molinari

Former congresswoman on hot seat

NEW YORK — Susan Molinari, the former New York Congresswoman, is losing her job as co-host of CBS’ Saturday-morning news show.

While the details of her departure have not been worked out, Molinari is expected to be off the broadcast by summer’s end. Whether she’ll remain with the network in another capacity has yet to be determined.

As of Monday afternoon, CBS News president Andrew Heyward had not officially notified Molinari of the change in her status. A CBS News spokeswoman also declined comment on Molinari’s fate, saying only that Heyward was “examining every aspect of the program.”

But while the formalities may still have to be worked out, “She’s gone,” a CBS News insider said of Molinari, who quit the House of Representatives last year to take a job at the network. The decision to hire Molinari stirred a media firestorm, with pundits both inside and outside CBS News accusing the network of “blurring the line” between politics and journalism.

Serious buzz that Molinari would be dumped from “CBS News Saturday Morning” began spreading earlier this month, leading to speculation that the ex-GOP politico was on shaky ground. At the time, however, CBS News execs were thinking about dumping “Saturday Morning” altogether.

CBS News insiders now say “Saturday Morning” is safe, with Russ Mitchell expected to remain as co-anchor. Other aspects of the show, including a replacement for Molinari, are still under discussion.

Despite months of advance preparation and anchor-training sessions, critics slammed Molinari’s CBS News debut last fall, calling her performance awkward and amateurish.

Viewers greeted Molinari’s arrival with a yawn, resulting in low ratings nationally and in Gotham. Season-to-date through June 14, “Saturday Morning” is averaging a mere 1.3 rating/6 share, with poor clearances in major markets like Los Angeles.