×

CBS Mulls Changes to ‘CBS Evening News,’ Eyes Norah O’Donnell for Anchor Slot (EXCLUSIVE)

CBS News is considering making significant changes to its flagship “CBS Evening News,” according to four people with knowledge of the talks, part of a top-down look at the news division by incoming president Susan Zirinsky.

Executives are considering putting “CBS This Morning” anchor Norah O’Donnell in the lead role of its evening-news broadcast, these people said, as well as moving the broadcast to Washington, D.C. instead of its longtime roost in New York City. CBS News declined to make executives available for comment. These plans are not definitive, these people cautioned, and there is no guarantee they will come to fruition. Jeff Glor remains anchor of “CBS Evening News” at present.

The discussions about O’Donnell indicate a dissatisfaction with the “Evening News” performance under Jeff Glor, who was named “Evening News” anchor in October 2017. CBS’ flagship nightly broadcast has long trailed its rivals on ABC and NBC, but in the past year the telecast’s ratings have fallen further behind.

Glor has faced many challenges during a rookie stint in the slot, including a change from one “CBS Evening News” executive producer with years of experience to one whose experience is more tied to CBS’ digital-news operations. He has also been undermined by speculation early on in his tenure about ratings, although David Rhodes, current president of CBS News, has said he never expected “CBS Evening News” to surge immediately after an anchor change. And CBS News has been roiled in recent months as part of a legal probe into both the culture of the news division and its parent company.

Such a move would mean a big change for “CBS This Morning,” the morning show that O’Donnell has co-anchored since July 2012. Relocating to Washington, D.C. would allow O’Donnell to be closer to her family rather that commuting between New York and the capital as she has since she signed on to “CBS This Morning.”

O’Donnell has distinguished herself at CBS News for in-depth reporting and her ability to land big interviews, such as her sit-down that has aired this week with Priscilla Chan, philanthropist and wife of Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg. Last year she landed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and FBI director Christopher Wray, among others.

“CBS This Morning” has been in flux for some time. The ouster of Charlie Rose in late 2017 prompted a reworking of the show’s lineup. John Dickerson and Bianna Golodryga have joined Gayle King and O’Donnell at the show’s desk, bringing the group to four.

If O’Donnell were to move to “Evening News,” she would undoubtedly still have a presence on “This Morning” in her role as an “Evening News” anchor and “60 Minutes” contributors. The network morning shows have become the key launching pad for interview gets and news scoops for other news broadcasts, given that the morning shows are consistently more popular and buzzy than the traditional early evening newscasts of record.

O’Donnell joined CBS News in 2011 as chief White House correspondent after more than a decade at NBC News. If appointed, she would be the second woman to anchor “CBS Evening News,” following Katie Couric’s run in the chair between 2006 and 2011.

More TV

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up fromchief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software and technology [...]

  • La Linea Invisible

    Mariano Barroso Shoots Basque Conflict Origins Story ‘La Linea Invisible’

    IRUN, Spain  — When- and why – do people begin to kill for a cause? Having created “What the Future Holds,” maybe the best reviewed to date of any Movistar + Original Series, Spain’s Mariano Barroso (“The Wolves of Washington”) tackles this question head on in “La Línea Invisible,” a six-part series, again from Movistar [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Writers Guild Leaders Warn Members About Contact With Fired Agents

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are warning members about being contacted by their former agents — asserting that such efforts are an attempt to undermine the WGA and its members. The missive, sent Tuesday from the WGA negotiating committee, came with the guild in a bitter three-month standoff with talent agents that appears [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    ‘The Bachelor’ Creator Mike Fleiss Accused of Attacking Wife

    “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” creator Mike Fleiss has been accused of attacking his wife Laura Fleiss at their home in Hawaii on July 4, according to documents obtained by Variety. The documents show that Laura Fleiss, who is currently pregnant, filed for an emergency domestic violence restraining order against her husband after he allegedly [...]

  • James Cordon Drag Race Handmaids Tale

    Emmys Trivia: 20 Surprising Facts From 2019's Nominations

    For a show that technically wasn’t eligible at the Emmy Awards in 2019, “The Handmaid’s Tale” did quite well this year. The Hulu drama picked up 11 nominations, including major ones like outstanding directing, writing, guest actress and guest actor, thanks to a quirk in the TV Academy’s Emmy rules. As previously noted, most of [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost

    'Schitt's Creek' Emmy Nominations Give Boost to Pop's Profile

    The core executive team at Pop TV expected to be disappointed, but they still gathered at the CBS-owned cable channel’s Playa Vista offices early Tuesday morning for the reveal of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards nominations. They were not disappointed. “Schitt’s Creek,” the quirky comedy series that has punched above its weight for Pop since [...]

  • Beyonce-HOMECOMING-Netflix

    Beyoncé, Sara Bareilles Vie for First Emmys as Ramin Djawadi Looks to Reclaim Throne

    Beyoncé and Sara Bareilles could add Emmy trophies to their awards shelves this year, having been nominated in key music categories Tuesday by the Television Academy. Beyoncé’s “Homecoming” special on Netflix was nominated in six categories, and four of those include a nod for the pop superstar herself. Only one of those is in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content