×

CBS News Overhauls ‘Morning,’ ‘Evening’ Anchors in Bid for New Era

CBS News made headlines of its own Monday by unveiling anchor changes at two of its best known programs, a radical maneuver that underscores how its programs have fallen behind rivals at a time of heightened competition.

The network will overhaul both “CBS This Morning” and “CBS Evening News,” adding two new anchors, veteran Anthony Mason and rising broadcaster Tony Dokoupil, to host the morning program with Gayle King, who has been at the A.M. desk since 2012. Her co-anchor Norah O’Donnell, will take over the chair at “CBS Evening News” starting in the summer, before moving the broadcast to Washington, D.C. in the fall.   A third “Morning” co-anchor, John Dickerson, will move to “60 Minutes.” Jeff Glor will step down from his role as evening-news anchor, and is in discussions with CBS about a potential new role. CBS’ “Morning” and “Evening” have been mired in third place for years, and have recently seen viewership erode in light of anchor changes made over the past 18 months.

“We all want to crush it like a popsicle,” said King during Monday’s broadcast of “CBS This Morning,” where she, O’Donnell and Dickerson revealed the new moves to a national audience.

The shifts represent the first big bet by Susan Zirinsky, who took over as president of CBS News in March, to revive a storied news brand. CBS News has one of the most hallowed lineages in the business – it is, after all, home to “60 Minutes” and is the root from which Walter Cronkite once told the nation of the death of President John F. Kennedy. But ratings at many of its programs have dipped thanks in the wake of talent switches made after the late-2017 ouster of Charlie Rose. Rose was accused of unwanted sexual behavior, and fired from his “CBS This Morning” post.

CBS News replaced him with Dickerson, who had hosted “Face The Nation,”and added a fourth anchor, Bianna Golodryga, who recently left after learning she would no longer have a role at the morning program. Margaret Brennan began a new tenure at “Nation” at a time when Glor was struggling at “CBS Evening News.”

The results have been lackluster. “CBS This Morning,” launched in 2012, was a success story for CBS. It gained in the ratings, and began to grow more competitive with NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” with a narrower focus on news of the day and a mandate to avoid some of the more frivolous elements of morning TV. Since Rose’s departure, however, it has fallen behind. CBS News recently named a new executive producer for the program, Diana Miller. “CBS Evening News” and “Face The Nation” have also been in decline.

O’Donnell will become just the third woman to get a solo berth hosting one of the big broadcast-network evening-news programs. She follows Diane Sawyer’s stint at ABC’s “World News” and Katie Couric at “CBS Evening News”-  as well as a stint by Connie Chung co-anchoring the CBS evening program with Dan Rather. Judy Woodruff currently anchors PBS’ “PBS NewsHour.” She has also been named managing editor of the evening broadcast and is expected to continue as a “60 Minutes” contributor. She will also anchor the network’s coverage of elections and primary nights.

CBS no doubt hopes the new moves will put to rest a tough year for the news division. Discovery of the claims against Rose led to a fuller airing of allegations of the work culture at CBS News and its venerable newsmagazine “60 Minutes.” Rose denied the accusations made against him.

But Zirinsky’s new lineup places women at the center of most of CBS News’ flagship programs: O’Donnell at “CBS Evening News”; Margaret Brennan at “Face The Nation”; King at the center of “CBS This Morning” and Jane Pauley at “CBS Sunday Morning.” Women also hold top producer roles at many shows, including Diane Miller, newly installed as executive producer at “CBS This Morning”; Mary Hager, a veteran presence at “Face The Nation”; Judy Tygard, named to succeed Zirinsky at “48 Hours”; and Tanya Simon, recently elevated to executive editor at “60 Minutes.”

The moves have been among the worst-kept secret in the TV-news business. Word of the looming CBS News makeover leaked even before Zirinsky officially took the reins of CBS News in March. Speculation around the changes created an awkward environment for “Evening News” staffers as they kept working to keep the broadcast on track and put CBS in the unenviable position of not being able to tell its own story until all the anchors’ new roles were determined and signed. CBS News wants Glor to stay on, King said Monday, but “his conversations with CBS continue. It is his decision.”

The new “CBS This Morning” team is expected to start May 20.

 

 

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Returns to Air As ITV Defends Treatment of Caroline Flack

    ‘Love Island’ was back on air Monday for the first time since the death of former host Caroline Flack on Feb. 15. Amid the reality series’ return, broadcaster ITV insists it supported the star after she was removed from the show. Monday night’s episode began somberly with narrator Iain Stirling providing voiceover over scenes of [...]

  • Tiffany BooneEntertainment Weekly Pre-SAG Party, Arrivals,

    Actor Tiffany Boone Addresses Her Decision to Quit 'The Chi'

    Actor Tiffany Boone addressed her exit from “The Chi,” the Showtime series she departed in November 2018 after making harassment allegations against her former co-star Jason Mitchell. Mitchell was fired from the show last May as a result of intimidation and abuse accusations made by Boone and showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis. Mitchell was subsequently dismissed [...]

  • Amazon Prime nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for

    Amazon Prime Nabs ‘Russian Affairs’ for Germany, France and the Netherlands

    Amazon Prime Video has acquired the first season of series “Russian Affairs” for distribution in Germany, France and the Netherlands, from Russia’s Start Studios. The eight-part drama that follows the lives of Russia’s elite and those who aspire to that position is set in contemporary Moscow. Under the title “Gold Diggers,” the series was broadcast [...]

  • MODEL RELEASED Mother with baby, 1

    Channel 4 Orders ‘Baby Surgeons’ From Wonderhood Studios

    U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has commissioned Wonderhood Studios for a documentary series with the working title “Baby Surgeons.” The series will explore the journeys parents go through to save their babies during complex pregnancies and will feature cutting-edge baby surgeries, some performed inside the womb. It will also use CGI, MRI and Ultrasound to enhance [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Stanley Tucci

    Stanley Tucci to Host BBC Radio 4 Series 'The Californian Century'

    Actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci will front series “The Californian Century,” set to air on BBC Radio 4. Tucci will play a cynical screenwriter who narrates the stories of ten people who helped build California over the last 100 years. They include Francis Boggs, the first person to direct a full movie in California; Hattie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content