Norah O’Donnell is going all in with space for her anchoring debut on the CBS Evening News next week, interviewing Caroline Kennedy and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to mark the 50th anniversary month of man’s first steps on the moon.
The space focus makes sense: Among journalists, CBS’ Walter Cronkite is more closely associated with the moon flights than any other broadcaster. In a sense, O’Donnell’s space-themed inaugural turn as the network’s new anchor ties a new era of the CBS Evening News to its historic legacy.
In May, O’Donnell, formerly a co-host of CBS This Morning, was named by the recently installed CBS News chief Susan Zirinsky as successor to Jeff Glor as anchor of the CBS Evening News in an attempt to boost ratings.
O’Donnell’s debut on Monday, July 15, will feature the exclusive joint interview with Amazon founder and space entrepreneur Bezos and Kennedy, the former U.S. ambassador to Japan. They’ll discuss the future of space exploration and President John F. Kennedy’s role in expanding the American space program.
On Tuesday, July 16, O’Donnell will anchor the evening news from the Kennedy Space Center, CBS News announced, from the same location where Cronkite broadcast in 1969. Later that night, at 10 PM ET, she’ll anchor one-hour special Man on the Moon, utilizing Cronkite’s coverage of the moon landing and with Neil Armstrong’s narrative in what CBS is calling an “experiential film” about the moon landing. (The actual 50th anniversary of the moon landing is July 20).
Also July 16, CBS This Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil will co-anchor the morning broadcast (7-9 AM) from the Kennedy Space Center, with Gayle King and Anthony Mason reporting from New York. Dokoupil will anchor a “CBS News Special Report” later that morning marking the exact moment when Apollo 11 took off in 1969.