From the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and George Floyd protests around the world to the contested 2020 presidential election and last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by insurgents, O’Donnell says “journalism is more important than ever. There’s a thirst for information because there’s so much going on in the world.”
For the past several months, the national evening newscasts have been the most-watched television programs in the country. The nation has turned its eyes by the millions to trusted anchors Lester Holt (NBC), Norah O’Donnell (CBS) and David Muir (ABC) to get the latest information on the coronavirus. And now another story — the death of George Floyd and the following protests — has gripped the nation, making the evening news as critical as ever. The three anchors address the question: What is the mission of the nightly news in these times?
President Trump called 60 Minutes’ interview with whistleblower Rick Bright fake news, called CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell a third place anchor, and said the show was trying to demean the country to benefit the radical left. In a 60 Minutes interview Sunday night hosted by O’Donnell, Bright, formerly a top scientist with the Department of Health and Human Services, said the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 response had been slow, prioritized politics over science, pushed the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine, and ultimately cost lives.
Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell tried to manage seven presidential candidates fighting for their lives Tuesday, just a week before the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries. Particularly at the start, the journalists looked like substitute teachers in front of an unruly school class.
Ratings for the new CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell are still underwater, but they may have finally hit bottom. In its first week broadcasting from D.C., the show’s total viewers jumped to 5.9 million, down 8% from a year earlier. It has since hovered in the 5.8 million range. That’s still third place, but better than the nightly average of 5.5 million viewers in the fourth quarter overall, according to Nielsen.
Norah O’Donnell slid into the CBS Evening News anchor chair on July 15, shifting from her spot at CBS This Morning. Now, she’s ready for another shift, as CBS News prepares to relocate its evening newscast to Washington. The D.C.-based newscast debuts the first week of December. Here she talks about the Beltway relocation, her run so far on Evening News and what’s next for the broadcast.
Norah O’Donnell and Susan Zirinsky are out to remake CBS’s flagship newscast at a time when journalism is under seige. (Photo: Celeste Sloman for Variety)
She is leaving the Big Apple next month and taking her children and the CBS Evening News to Washington where CBS is working on a “state-of-the-art” studio that sources say is still under construction, with the electrical work yet to be finished.
Though Norah O’Donnell had her first turn as anchor of CBS Evening News Monday night, she didn’t rely on any attention-grabbing tricks to carry the day. O’Donnell delivered a no-nonsense newscast that was packed with information and left little time for gimmicks. Indeed, O’Donnell summoned the ghost of the celebrated Edward R. Murrow, who took on Sen. Joseph McCarthy with the CBS News TV program See It Now, in an effort to tell viewers what to expect from her tenure behind the desk.
Norah O’Donnell will make her CBS Evening News debut, of course, on TV. But that doesn’t mean CBS News isn’t mindful of the new ways in which news aficionados get their information in an era of smartphone alerts and viral tweets.
The first is the appointment of a new anchor, Norah O’Donnell, who takes over Monday at the start of what promises to be a busy midsummer week. The second comes in November, when the CBS Evening News leaves New York for Washington, D.C.
With Norah O’Donnell taking over the anchor chair on Monday, new female leadership at CBS News aims to revive the kind of trust once enjoyed by stalwarts such as Walter Cronkite.
In less than a month, Norah O’Donnell will start delivering the headlines at CBS Evening News – and, most likely, start generating a few of her own. CBS News plans to launch a re-tooled CBS Evening News anchored by O’Donnell on July 15, part of the network’s ambitious plans to overhaul its morning and evening standbys and get more competitive with rivals. O’Donnell will play an instrumental role in a big bet by the network, which plans to move her and the broadcast to Washington from New York City in the fall.
CBS News president and senior executive producer Susan Zirinsky on Monday unveiled a new weekday anchor lineup, naming Norah O’Donnell anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News and Gayle King, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil co-hosts of CBS This Morning.
Norah O’Donnell is officially out as co-host of CBS’s struggling morning show. Sources close to CBS say that the new anchor lineup for CBS This Morning has been set and it doesn’t include O’Donnell because co-anchor Gayle King — riding high off her big interview R. Kelly — has demanded she be sent elsewhere. CBS News President Susan Zirinsky denied that King had anything to do with O’Donnell leaving the morning show.