New York -- CBS News officially announced Tuesday the addition of Charlie Rose and Gayle King to its revamped morning lineup, confirming the news at a press conference here this afternoon.
The pair will join current Early Show co-anchor Erica Hill to front the as-yet-untitled morning show, which will debut from a new studio at the CBS Broadcast Center on New York's West Side on Jan. 9.
Chris Licht, who joined CBS News in June as VP of programming, will be executive producer of the new program, while retaining his VP role.
Current news anchor Jeff Glor will remain as a special correspondent, John Miller will join the broadcast as senior correspondent and Rebecca Jarvis will serve as business and economics correspondent.
CBS News President David Rhodes called the shakeup a "bold move," with news chairman Jeff Fager saying the retooled show will be consistent with who CBS is as a news organization and seek to bring the values of its signature program, 60 Minutes, to the daily broadcast.
The plan for the new show calls for Rose and Hill to anchor the 7 a.m. hour, which will be focused on news of the day and be faster paced, while King will lead the 8 a.m. hour., utilizing her experience as an interviewer. Rose, best known for his eponymous late-night PBS interview show, will continue to host that show in additional to CBS mornings.
"I will be able now to paint on two canvases, in
the morning and in the evening," he said.
King, who hosts The Gayle King Show on radio and the cable network OWN, will give up her show, however, to devote her full-time attention to her role at CBS.
"This really deserves 150 percent focus and that's what I
intend to give it," she said.
Fager made sure to clear up what he saw as "misconceptions" of the new show's format in early press reports, explaining that it will cover what is important but also what is just plain interesting.
"It will be hard news, it will be real news, but
it's not going to be all serious," he said. "It will be a high-interest broadcast with a
great mix of stories for a mass audience that covers everything from war zones
to markets to pop culture."
CBS News leadership also addressed the thinking that the addition of Rose and King, who currently reach small, targeted audiences, is more of a cable news strategy, an opinion favored by some, especially given Licht's former role as co-creator of MSNBC's chatfest Morning Joe. Rhodes refuted that, saying that Rose and King just haven't had access to a platform like CBS before to appeal to a broader viewership.
"This is a chance for them to spread their wings and show the rest of the country how good they can be," Fager added.
Licht also reiterated that CBS will not seek to copy the success of NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America, and ruled out the concepts of cooking segments, Halloween costumes and rock concerts on a CBS show. He said the program will not "be above any story," however.
"We're not going to do anything because another show does it,
but we're also not going to not do something because another show does it," Licht said. "We
are doing this and producing this show with blinders on."
The new morning show will not have a weather anchor, which Fager calls "significant." Instead, weather updates will continue to be handled by local affiliates as they have on The Early Show since September.
Tuesday's announcement comes about a year after The Early Show replaced its entire anchor lineup, and is just the latest change in what has been a revolving door of anchors on the third-place morning show in recent years.
While Fager declined to make ratings predictions for the new broadcast, he said that success in the mornings
"matters to this news organization a lot" and seemed pained talking about the problems that have plagued the mornings on what is the most-watched network in primetime.
"The phrase that I hate hearing is ‘distant third,'" he said. "We want
to do better, and we really want to be proud of it. I think we've
got a better chance now than we have in a long, long time."
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