On Friday, “CBS This Morning” largely sidestepped the swirling speculation that the low-rated show was bracing for a major shakeup of on-air staff as co-anchor Norah O’Donnell told viewers that the network planned to address matters formally on Monday.
“We are reading lots of things with great interest and I just want you to know we will address them on Monday when Gayle is back here and John as well,” she said at the top of the Friday morning broadcast, referencing the absence of co-anchors Gayle King and John Dickerson, whom she said were on assignment — in King’s case, “working on a very special project” in London.
The news of “great interest” was a cascade of media reports on Thursday about a big shakeup in the works at CBS News to re-center the morning show around King, whose contract with the network is up in November.
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Though the network has declined to comment on specifics, a CBS News insider said that new division president Susan Zirinsky intends to move Dickerson to become a correspondent at “60 Minutes” while having O’Donnell replace Jeff Glor as anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” The individual stressed that most of the deals, including King’s, have not been finalized yet.
In addition, unnamed network insiders told CNN that CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil and weekend anchor Anthony Mason are likely to be tapped to join King as co-anchors of the morning show.
(Reps for King, O’Donnell and Dickerson have not responded to requests for comment.)
Glor’s agent Olivia Metzger also did not respond to a request for comment, but told CNN Business late Thursday, “Jeff has remained focused on making sure the ‘Evening News’ team stays unified and on elevating the reporting and sharing of the most important and meaningful news events and stories both here and across the world, in the great tradition of CBS News.”
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Both CBS’ morning and evening news shows are down deeply in the ratings both overall and among the advertiser-coveted 25-54 year-old demographic. A broad array of media watchers told TheWrap that Zirinsky’s first and most important task as president will be reversing the network’s years-long slide into third place.
Since replacing David Rhodes as head of CBS News in January, Zirinsky has moved quickly to address both the ratings situation and a corporate culture battered by a series of #MeToo accusations involving top network executives, including ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves and longtime “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager.
She named Bill Owens to replace Fager at the division’s flagship primetime show, “60 Minutes,” and last month abruptly removed the morning show’s fourth co-anchor, Bianna Golodryga — who quickly left the network altogether.