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New CBS 'Early Show' co-anchor embraces challenge

By Cody Combs, CNN
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Former CNNer now anchors CBS 'Early Show'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Erica Hill says she is "really focused on the future"
  • She was named co-anchor of the morning program last week
  • It rates third in its time slot behind NBC and ABC
  • Hill previously appeared on CNN's "AC360"

(CNN) -- The newly named co-host of CBS' "The Early Show" acknowledged the work ahead of her in an interview Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources" with Howard Kurtz.

"I look at it as a challenge, but I look at any new job as a challenge," Erica Hill said. "I know there's been a lot written about the challenges that this sort of morning show has had."

While seen by millions of viewers, "The Early Show" has consistently lagged in third place behind NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America."

When asked about the show's ratings struggle, Hill brushed off the stigma.

"What happened in the past happened in the past," she said. "I'm really focused on the future. ... I'm putting everything I have into this."

Hill will be joined by Chris Wragge, with whom she co-anchored the Saturday edition of "The Early Show" since 2008.

While current "Early Show" co-anchors Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez will remain at the helm of the program until early January and maintain roles at CBS News, Hill talked about the uncomfortable process of transitioning.

"It is awkward," she said. "They're people ... that I adore and that I respect, not just as colleagues, not just as journalists, but also as friends."

Harry Smith, who has anchored morning shows at CBS for 17 years, said the first of many goodbyes on CBS Radio last week.

"Being on a network television show is a pretty cool job. You get to cover the news of the day, meet movie stars and cook with great chefs," Smith said. "I'm leaving my job on 'The Early Show' soon, but I will always be grateful for having one of the best seats in the house."

Prior to working at CBS, Hill appeared on CNN's nightly newsmagazine "AC360," where she joined Anderson Cooper for news bulletins and friendly banter.