Norah O’Donnell told viewers on Monday that CBS Evening News was starting a “new era” with its first broadcast since officially moving to Washington, D.C., the only broadcast network newscast to originate from the nation’s capital.
CBS is hoping that leaving New York distinguishes the broadcast from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, both of which beat CBS Evening News in the ratings. In the week of Nov. 18, World News Tonight drew 8.8 million total viewers, compared to 7.9 million for NBC and 5.6 million for CBS.
The move to D.C. has been in the works since O’Donnell was named anchor of the broadcast. Since she started in July, she has landed interviews with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, among others. The network also hopes that the move will help draw more big gets given the proximity to the White House and lawmakers. O’Donnell also has roots in D.C.: She was a longtime White House correspondent and is married to chef and restaurateur Geoff Tracy.
CBS News also tapped Jay Shaylor to serve as executive producer of the broadcast. He had been EP of The Situation Room on CNN. In a statement, he said the move “allows Norah to bring viewers the heart of the story from the center of where everything is happening.”
To make room for the broadcast, the CBS News bureau on M Street went through a renovation to make way for the studio.
Network newscasts typically are based in New York, although David Brinkley co-anchored NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley Report from Washington and Frank Reynolds co-anchored from the capital during the early years of World News Tonight.
“Thanks to the CBS News team that made this possible,” O’Donnell said at the end of the broadcast, with an image of the Capitol as a backdrop.