CBS News on Monday announced its much-anticipated plans for a total revision of the network’s daily newscasts, with big changes both in the morning and at night.
Norah O’Donnell, currently a co-anchor of “CBS This Morning,” will be the new anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News.” The shift will take effect this summer.
O’Donnell is taking over for Jeff Glor, who has held the evening news chair for just 18 months. Glor struggled to move the program out of its perennially third place position in the ratings, behind ABC and NBC.
It is unclear if Glor will remain at the network. CBS News president Susan Zirinsky said, “We are discussing opportunities for Jeff to remain with CBS News.”
Zirinsky inherited the news division earlier this year. Now she is making sweeping changes. “I think her intention is pretty clear: She’s trying to put people back in the places that suit them best,” a CBS staffer told CNN Business last week.
With O’Donnell moving to the evening, Gayle King will be at the center of the revamped morning show. King will be joined by Saturday morning anchor Anthony Mason and correspondent Tony Dokoupil.
Current morning show co-anchor John Dickerson is heading to a “60 Minutes” post.
Dickerson wrote in a blog post on Monday, “it is not befitting the role to jump up and down, but my family gathered around the television on Sunday nights to watch 60 Minutes. So I’m pin-balling like a kid and as an adult who has devoted his life to telling stories I couldn’t be more thrilled.” Dickerson will also “contribute to election specials,” CBS said.
O’Donnell gains the most in all of Monday’s moves. She will continue to be a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes.” She will become “the lead anchor of political events for the network,” CBS said.
And the “Evening News” will relocate to Washington, D.C. in the fall, in large part because that’s where her family is based.
“It’s incredibly humbling to accept this position… I’m going to give this everything I’ve got,” O’Donnell said while sharing the announcement on Monday’s morning show.
O’Donnell will become one of only a small number of women to lead a network nightly newscast.
Katie Couric, who blazed the trail at CBS a decade ago, congratulated O’Donnell on Instagram, noting that O’Donnell is “only the third woman to be the solo anchor of a network evening newscast… an important and needed step in representing more than half the population.”
O’Donnell will compete against Lester Holt on NBC, David Muir on ABC, Judy Woodruff on PBS — and everything else that’s available live and on demand in an increasingly fragmented media universe.
The plans for this talent shuffle started to leak out months ago. The overarching goal: To pull CBS News out of a dispiriting period in its history and reinvigorate the network’s flagship newscasts.