Tony Dokupil renews ‘CBS Mornings’ contract

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CBS Mornings” co-anchor Tony Dokupil has renewed his contract with the network.

While terms of the deal were not announced, the deal appears to lock in the anchor team of Dokupil, Gayle King and Nate Burleson for at least the next few years.

King renewed her contract in January 2022 and Burleson, who worked for the network’s sports division previously, likely negotiated an updated deal when he moved into the “Mornings” anchor chair in September 2021.

Despite the show still being in third place, the network appears to be optimistic about its future, with its trio of anchors, along with regular contributor Vladimir Duthiers, having hit upon the on-air chemistry that’s hard to create.

“CBS Mornings” has also seen its audience rise in the mid-single digits, while NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” have seen audiences shrink by as much as 15% in recent months.

CBS relaunched its morning offering in September 2021, changing the name from “CBS This Morning” to “CBS Mornings” to better align its branding with “CBS Sunday Morning.” The weekday offering even took on a variation of the Sunday morning show’s theme music.

The move represents the network’s continued focus on differentiating “Mornings” from the other two networks. Although pop culture news gets chatted about on-air, CBS doesn’t give these topics as much of an emphasis — nor does it regularly feature cooking or deal segments.

The morning news broadcasts are big business — CBS brought in over $110 million in 2021, with ABC raking in $280 million with “GMA” and NBC’s “Today” hitting over $298 million in ad revenue.

Despite the gains ABC has been able to make in the morning with both total viewers and those in the key demos, it still hasn’t been able to surpass the estimated ad revenue “Today,” which dominated the timeslot for decades, makes for NBC.

Ad executives need to be sensitive to not only what advertisers are willing to spend, but also the fact that “GMA” isn’t so far ahead of “Today” that it can demand larger rate increases.

CBS is significantly behind both of these networks and even if ratings were to improve significantly, the network could face challenges if ad price hikes happen too fast or too drastically, as the ABC situation illustrates.

For years, network morning newscasts have become key sources of revenue for network news divisions. Despite the fact their evening newscasts tend to be considered their “signature” newscasts, these broadcasts don’t bring in nearly the amount of money in ad revenue even though they can attract more viewers. Morning news shows are often seen as key to making network news divisions profitable.

To be fair, evening newscasts only run 30 minutes, as opposed to the two hours “GMA” and “Mornings” run (versions of “Today” run a total of four hours), so it’s natural they also don’t have as much ad time to sell.