CBS News is set to announce sweeping changes to its two major news programs as early as next week. The changes include new co-anchors at “CBS This Morning” and likely a new anchor for “CBS Evening News,” according to sources inside and outside the network who spoke with HuffPost.
The announcement, due ahead of the network’s annual presentation to advertisers know as “the upfronts,” will come just over two months since Susan Zirinsky took over as president of the news division at CBS. Zirinsky has pledged to do a top-to-bottom overhaul after two years of tumult at the network.
Changes to the talent lineup will include the news that Anthony Mason, co-anchor of “CBS This Morning: Saturday” and a senior national correspondent for the network, and Tony Dokoupil, a “CBS News” correspondent and regular contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning,” will join “CBS This Morning” as co-anchors. The network’s morning show has long lagged in third place behind NBC’s “Today” show and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Gayle King, whose contract renewal was Zirinsky’s No. 1 focus, will continue to anchor the morning show and have significant influence on the direction of the program, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
Both Mason and Dokoupil filled in as co-anchors on March 29, and both King and Zirinsky were said to be pleased with the broadcast, according to two sources familiar with their reaction.
John Dickerson, who has co-anchored “CBS This Morning” since January 2018, will leave and join CBS’ Sunday newsmagazine “60 Minutes.” HuffPost was the first to report of Dickerson leaving CBS’ “Face the Nation” and joining “CBS This Morning.”
HuffPost was also the first to report the first major change Zirinsky made when she decided that “CBS This Morning” had too many anchors (four at the time) and moved one of those co-anchors, Bianna Golodryga, off the program. As a result, Golodryga, who had the contractual right to leave CBS if she wasn’t a co-anchor of “CBS This Morning,” left the network.
The New York Post was first to report some of the key details in this story.
Norah O’Donnell, who has served as co-anchor of “CBS This Morning” for seven years, will likely replace Jeff Glor, who has served as anchor of “CBS Evening News.” HuffPost has been told, however, that O’Donnell hasn’t officially signed her agreement yet.
In response to a list of questions sent via email on Tuesday, CBS News declined to comment.
The network’s news division has been in upheaval mode for the past 16 months, since Charlie Rose was fired in November 2017 over allegations of sexual misconduct. After Rose was fired, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who was also accused of sexual misconduct, among other things, was fired by the network’s board of directors. Joe Ianniello, Moonves’ longtime deputy, was named interim CEO.
Then, Jeff Fager, the longtime executive producer of “60 Minutes,” was fired for threatening CBS News reporter Jericka Duncan.
In January of this year, David Rhodes, who had served as the president of CBS News for seven years, was informed that his contract would not be renewed. When Zirinsky was picked as Rhodes’ replacement, the news was celebrated by CBS News staffers who spoke to HuffPost.
Along with Zirinsky’s elevation at the network, the latest shake-up means CBS News will for the first time have a woman as president and likely both of its major daily news programs anchored by women.
For more than a year, Glor, the anchor of “CBS Evening News,” has had to deal with rumors that he is going to be replaced. The rumors started just six months into his tenure, which multiple sources say frustrated Glor and his allies at the network. “CBS Evening News” has perennially been rated third among the three big networks.
The stream of stories about the rumors have led to a destabilizing feeling at “CBS Evening News” and in the news division broadly, sources say.
Zirinsky’s remake of the news division has caused a lot of tumult within CBS News. In late February, when Variety reported that Zirinsky was looking to replace Glor with O’Donnell, Zirinsky responded to the story by attending the “CBS Evening News” staff meeting and saying that staffers shouldn’t pay attention to any stories, that she was proud of the broadcast and that Glor was the anchor of the program. Of course, she made no guarantees that he was going to remain as anchor of the broadcast.