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Gayle King Says CBS News Was ‘Not Sinking, But Taking on Water’ Before ‘Badass’ New Boss Hired

Susan Zirinsky has been with the network for more than 45 years and began her career as a production clerk in 1972

Last Updated: January 7, 2019 @ 7:44 AM

“CBS This Morning” offered fulsome praise of their new boss Susan Zirinsky on Monday, one day after the network announced she had been formally tapped to lead CBS News. On set, Gayle King said Zirinsky is just what was needed to turn things around at CBS News.

“I feel that we were sort of like a ship, not sinking, but taking on water,” King said during Monday’s broadcast of “CBS This Morning.” “And I feel that she is someone who can right the ship, because she gets us, she knows us. And by us I mean this organization. She’s been here for a very long time. She is a smart cookie and she is a badass in every sense of the word.”

King’s co-host Norah O’Donnell swiftly added her agreement.

“[Susan Zirinsky] is known for her original reporting, her great producing skills, she is a great journalist. And in addition to that, she happens to have a kind heart and cares about the people that work here. So a new day is on the horizon,” she said.

Zirinsky’s announcement came during the Golden Globe awards on Sunday as part of an exclusive interview she gave to the Los Angeles Times. She will replace David Rhodes who has held the top job for eight years and will stay with the network as an advisor to CBS News and acting CBS chief Joe Ianniello.

Zirinsky has been with the network for more than 45 years and began her career as a production clerk in 1972. She had been under consideration to take over “60 Minutes” from disgraced former Executive Producer Jeff Fager. Now leading CBS News, she will instead be responsible for naming his replacement.

King’s reference to a ship taking on water is likely an allusion to a bleak ratings picture which has cast a pall over the network’s biggest programs. “Face The Nation,” “CBS Evening News” and King’s own “CBS This Morning” all suffered steep declines in 2018. Revering that trend will likely be Zirinsky’s top priority.