Gayle King and co-hosts of CBS This Morning hugged it out Monday as she announced she would remain on the program with new co-hosts, while Norah O’Donnell becomes anchor and managing editor at CBS Evening News which is moving to Washington D.C. John Dickerson is heading to 60 Minutes.
King announced she will be joined by Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil on the ratings-starved program, revealing start date: May 20.
But it’s Jeff Glor who is trending worldwide Monday morning, as O’Donnell’s appointment leave the current CBS Evening News anchor the odd man out.
“Jeff Glor is a fantastic journalist and trusted colleague here,” King said, adding he continues talks with division execs “and we all hope very much he will continue working here; it will be his decision.”
But new-ish CBS news chief Susan Zirinsky’s on-air changes already have led to one exit. CBS This Morning’s fourth co-host of only six months, Bianna Golodryga left the division last month rather than accept a different assignment. She remains a contributor at CNN, looking far more comfortable than she ever did in her few months on CBS’ morning show.
Glor, a 12-year CBS News veteran and one of the original anchors at launch of CBSN, had been named anchor of CBS’s evening newscast when Scott Pelley’s office famously was cleaned out while he was on assignment for 60 Minutes after contract talks did not go so well with former CBS News chief David Rhodes.
Revealing O’Donnell’s new post, King noted the evening newscast is moving to D.C., adding, “That’s big.” O’Donnell also will continue to contribute to 60 Minutes.
O’Donnell called it “incredibly humbling to accept this position,” mentioned Walter Cronkite, said she would give it “everything I’ve got” and added, “a new era begins.”
Dickerson, meanwhile, said his family used to sit around on Sunday night and watch 60 Minutes, but “I’m not going to totally flip out” adding he owes a lot to King and O’Donnell.
“The news should rarely be about us,” King said, reminding viewers she was on her way to London to do a special about the new addition to the royal family when word broke of details on her new co-hosts with a gossip headline that she had forced out O’Donnell.
“Tina Brown summed it up nicely,” King name-dropped, paraphrasing Brown saying this kind of headline never would happen to a man, though Brown hardly holds the corner on that thought. King called Zirinsky the “bad ass in our building” by way of reminding viewers that she came to the job in January announcing there would be changes made.
O’Donnell, meanwhile, said they should not “listen to those in the cheap seats,” crediting King with that line.
“We had lot of bad press coming from inside the building which has bothered me,” King said. The evening newscast’s move to Washington was Susan Zirinsky’s idea, King said at Norah, getting in the last word.
“This is a business about ratings, and when ratings don’t work they make changes,” King told viewers.
The three co-hosts agreed to give their new jobs “110%.”
Zirinsky, who officially took over in March, has been working on an overhaul of the morning show, which has suffered from bad ratings since Charlie Rose got sacked in wake of a sexual harassment report in Washington Post, taking viewers with him.
King gossip reached a fevered pitch last Thursday, causing O’Donnell to tell viewers the next morning, “We are reading lots of things with great interest,” as co-hosts King and Dickerson were away on other assignments.
“I just want you to know we will address them on Monday, when Gayle is back here – and John as well,” O’Donnell said, sitting on set with fill-ins Mason and Vladimir Duthiers.
Anticipating big tune in on Monday, O’Donnell joked: “Our show starts at 7 o’clock, and our Twitter handle is @CBSThisMorning.”
CBS News had been hoping to formally trot out Zirinsky’s new co-host lineup at a time close to the network’s Upfront Week presentation, the second week of May.
While Dickerson is heading to CBS News’ ratings success 60 Minutes, O’Donnell is bound for the ratings-challenged CBS Evening News and serve as the division’s chief political anchor role, a la George Stephanopoulos at ABC News.
Diana Miller is exec producer of CBS This Morning. The morning show’s senior broadcast producer, was named to replace Ryan Kadro the morning after Golodryga’s exit.
At 60 Minutes, Dickerson is expected to focus on politics, covering which he excelled at as host of CBS’ Sunday Beltway show, for which Dickerson was rewarded by being named to take the seat formerly occupied by Rose.
King had been expected to be the program’s only surviving member, since even before her boffo interview with R. Kelly, who she said she’d met several years ago at a party.