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CBS Plans Primetime Special Around Gayle King’s R. Kelly Interview

Gayle King’s interview with controversial singer R. Kelly has brought new interest to her regular program, “CBS This Morning.” Now there is some hope it can draw eyeballs to CBS’ primetime schedule as well.

CBS News will broadcast a one-hour primetime special, “The Gayle King Interview with R. Kelly,” featuring the journalist’s interviews with both Kelly and Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, two women who live with him. The program will air Friday, March 8, at 8 p.m. eastern,. and willl include unaired parts of King’s 80-minute sitdown with Kelly and an interview with the two young women living with him that she conducted earlier this week in Chicago.

The interview is Kelly’s first since he was arrested on 10 sexual abuse charges. Kelly is free on bond and has denied all of the accusations.

The primetime news special is the first to air under the aegis of new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky, who for years was the top producer supervising special news programs. One of the most important duties of her new job Zirinsky told Variety in a recent interview, is getting people to talk more about what CBS News is doing. One of the issues she wants to tackle, she said in the interview, “how can we distinguish ourselves and perhaps get someone’s attention, and get them to say, ‘Wow, did you see that on CBS? Memorable.’ And memorable is shareable.”

CBS This Morning” aired portions of King’s interview with Kelly on Wednesday and will add portions of the interview with Clary and Savage on Thursday.

The primetime special is being produced by teams at both “CBS This Morning” and “48 Hours.” Diana Miller and Judy Tygard will be executive producers of the special.

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