Is CBS News considering another talent shakeup?
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
The network has reportedly started exploring options with at least some of its existing talent or their reps, but the “CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King and “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell are the focus of intense speculation.
Both anchors have negotiated big raises under previous CBS News president Susan Zirinsky, but so far haven’t been able to move the needle on ratings significantly on their respective broadcasts.
King, in particular, is reportedly being considered for a wide ranging role with the network, as well as its parent company’s streaming service, Paramount+.
Other sources say that King might be interested in moving to the west coast, where her daughter lives, which would mean she’s likely need to take on different duties.
Both King and O’Donnell could be in danger of losing their current roles because the network is paying out top dollar for them but viewers aren’t tuning in as much as CBS would like.
King, in particular, has survived multiple anchor shuffles at “CBS This Morning” and “CBS Mornings,” which means it could be just a matter of time before someone realizes she’s the common denominator in all of the iterations that didn’t boost ratings.
CBS also reportedly gave O’Donnell a big raise and invested in moving her broadcast to Washington, D.C., where she lives, instead of broadcasting from New York like the ABC and NBC do for their evening newscasts.
However, her broadcast also remains in a distant third place.
Business Insider cites unnamed sources that CBS News execs are reportedly interested in “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi, though it’s not immediately clear if that would be to replace King or in some other role. “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker is reportedly being considered for other opportunities.
The network has also reportedly reached out to NBC’s Brian Williams and Craig Melvin. Melvin still has a substantial amount of time left on his contract, though Williams’ is up at the end of 2021 and he reportedly is eager to move off the 11 p.m. eastern hour.
One possible scenario would be that CBS could get new and existing talent solo shows either on the network or Paramount+ in addition to anchoring responsibilities.
Despite tight competition and an unproven business model, streaming services are becoming increasingly of interest to key talent.
CBS News dismissed the reports to Business Insider and none of the talent mentioned responded to requests for comment.