John Dickerson To Host ‘Face The Nation’, Replacing Retiring Bob Schieffer

CBS News Political Director John Dickerson will succeed the retiring Bob Schieffer as host of CBS News’s Sunday Beltway show, Face the Nationwhen Schieffer steps down “this summer,” Schieffer announced on this morning’s show.

Schieffer, 78, noted there’s been much speculation as to who would take his place on the program since last Wednesday, when he announced his retirement, at the annual Schieffer Symposium at Texas Christian University, his alma mater.

“I’m happy to say the answer is: my friend, the CBS News political director John Dickerson, who’s been on this program 83 times,” Shieffer said on today’s broadcast.

“He sure has the right bloodlines – his mother, Nancy Dickerson was the first female correspondent in the CBS News Washington bureau. She was a member of the Washington press corp as an NBC correspondent when I came to Washington in 1969… [T]his just underlies what I’ve been saying for years – I find myself these days working with the children of my friends,” said Schieffer, who has been with CBS News for 46 years, this year marking his 24th anchoring CBS’ Sunday Beltway show.

Schieffer’s retirement throws into question the pecking order in the Sunday Beltway ratings wars; Face finished out 2014 as the highest-rated show of the genre for a third consecutive year.

CBS expanded Face the Nation to a full hour, three years ago this month.  The program enjoys a significant ratings advantage in its lead-in, CBS Sunday Morning, which just clocked its best first quarter ratings in 28 years.  The program also enjoys the ratings benefit of not including the numbers for its second half-hour in its ratings; that half hour is broken out separately, unlike its one-hour competition on NBC and ABC.  That’s because the two half-hours of CBS’s program do not air back-to-back in every market in the country; current Nielsen data has the two half hours of Face airing back-to-back in about 76% of the country.

CBS News’ announcement:

“John is first and foremost a reporter—and that’s what he’ll be as anchor of Face the Nation,” said [CBS News president David] Rhodes.  “His work in the studio will always be informed by what he’s learned in Iowa, in New Hampshire, on Capitol Hill—anywhere there’s news. He has earned the respect of newsmakers across the political spectrum.  With all our correspondents John will present comprehensive coverage on all our platforms.”
Dickerson said, “I’m thrilled. I have watched Bob my whole professional life not just as a viewer but as a daily reporter who also covered the Hill. I’m honored to carry on his tradition on Face the Nation.”
Dickerson has been Political Director for CBS News since 2011, working with Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief Christopher Isham in guiding the news division’s coverage of politics. “John has become integral to our reporting on politics and is a great colleague to everyone in the Washington newsroom,” said Isham.
Dickerson has had 83 appearances on FACE THE NATION…
Dickerson began working at CBS News in April 2009 as an on-air political analyst. He contributes across all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, including CBSN, the first digital streaming news network.  He was a part of the network’s 2012 Presidential campaign coverage, as well as its 2014 mid-term elections coverage.
Dickerson has been a reporter in Washington for almost 20 years covering the White House, Congress and Economics, including most recently for Slate, and from 1993 to 2005 at Time magazine.  During his last four years at the magazine, he was White House correspondent covering the presidency of George W. Bush.  He authored a long-form series on presidential attributes, which won the Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency.

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