CBS News has denied reports that anchor Gayle King is pushing Norah O’Donnell out of “This Morning,” according to reports.
The New York Post on May 2 reported that King is behind efforts to oust O’Donnell. The two are co-anchors on the popular morning program.
According to a source, King demanded that O’Donnell be moved off the show as part of her contract negotiations, the Post reported.
CBS News President Susan Zirinsky rejected claims made in the Post’s article: “This headline is offensive and 100 percent false,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
King was in the spotlight recently after she interviewed beleaguered singer R. Kelly, triggering a series of animated outbursts from the musician.
Variety and NBC News also reported that O’Donnell and co-anchor John Dickerson will leave “This Morning,” and King will be the main anchor. NBC reported that King is slated to make $11 million per year under her new contract.
“Gayle King is expected to remain at the program, and will be flanked by Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil, according to two people familiar with the matter,” the magazine reported. “As Variety reported in February and March, CBS News has other plans for King’s two current co-anchors, John Dickerson and Norah O’Donnell. Dickerson is widely expected to take up a role with ’60 Minutes,’ according to people familiar with talks, while O’Donnell has been in discussions to take over the anchor seat at ‘CBS Evening News.’”
It further said that CBS is looking to tap King’s popularity after her R. Kelly and Ralph Northam interviews. “This Morning” has lagged behind NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” in recent years.
Christa Robinson, a CBS spokeswoman, told NBC News of the reports, “We are not engaging in speculation.”
According to the Post, a source said that “Norah is toxic” and difficult to work with. It claimed that there is bad blood between King and O’Donnell, who was reportedly offered a “monster anchor” job on “CBS Evening News” alongside Jeff Glor. The Daily Mail in April, citing an unnamed source, also reported that “Norah is demanding but can be so harsh in her treatment of people—particularly women—I’ve seen a lot of tears. People live in fear around Norah.”
CBS overhauls its morning lineup, but Gayle King remains on top
“There’s no bad blood between Norah and Gayle, in fact they are very close,” another person who is friends with O’Donnell told the Post. The person said King and O’Donnell “are close friends.”
“In her 20-plus year career in news, she’s become an unquestioned leader in her field,” O’Donnell’s agent and UTA Co-President Jay Sures added to the newspaper.
On April 30, it was reported that the “Today” show was the No. 1 morning show in April, topping “GMA” and “This Morning.”
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) May 3, 2019
“TODAY has now won the key demo for 44 straight months (174 consecutive weeks), its best streak in over six years. TODAY came within just 9,000 viewers of GMA for the month, it’s closest April margin in seven years. Additionally, TODAY widened its demo lead versus GMA month over month and versus last year,” says a press release from NBC via Broadway World.
The NBC report noted that “This Morning” lost about 8 percent of its total audience, which amounts to about 264,000 viewers.