Tabloid reports have suggested that lioness Gayle King has eaten Norah O’Donnell for a mid-morning snack. Even if it’s true — that these two women really deeply despise each other — they’ve both landed incredibly high-powered promotions at CBS. They’re also putting on quite an impressive act that they adore each other.
“This is a big day for Norah O’Donnell,” King gushed Monday morning on “CBS This Morning.” She said it was time to hear the news straight from the “horse’s mouth.” She added, “So hello, horses.” O’Donnell, 45, deployed laughter. King, 64, ultimately added, “Bravo, Norah O’Donnell, bravo.”
An insider told NYP‘s “Page Six” that O’Donnell is “toxic.” A Mirror media source told me “they’re both horrible.”
King, allegedly with the help of her bff, Oprah, “went for broke” and signed a cool $11 million contract with CBS to stay on “CBS This Morning.” Reports indicated King demanded that O’Donnell permanently sign off the morning show. Starting this summer, O’Donnell will do just that as she slides into her new evening role. Gayle has been paired with two men: MSNBC host Katy Tur‘s husband, Tony Dokoupil, and Anthony Mason. (RELATED: Gayle King Talks To BFF Oprah Amid Stinky Rose Debacle)
Just had to make one little adjustment to this onesie…
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) May 6, 2019
O’Donnell, meanwhile, is finding her inner Walter Cronkite.
“Walter Cronkite once said, ‘I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.’ I am going to give this everything I’ve got,” she told King and CBS’s John Dickerson Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
She said her new position is “incredibly humbling.” She laid it on real thick: “At CBS News I don’t stand on the shoulders of my colleagues, they carry me on their backs.”
Dickerson told her, “Norah, what an amazing thing!”
O’Donnell succeeded in knocking Jeff Glor out of the “CBS Evening News” anchor spot to make room for herself. She’ll be managing editor of the program and will be the “lead anchor” for primaries and election nights. She’ll continue working for the network’s “60 Minutes.” In the fall, the evening news program will move to Washington, where O’Donnell lives with her husband and their children. O’Donnell’s hubby owns a chain of mediocre restaurants called Chef Geoff’s.
CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid gave O’Donnell a big thumbs up.
“Norah O’Donnell is the hardest working woman in hard news and a true shoe-leather journalist,” she tweeted. “Thrilled for her and for CBS News.”
NBC’s Tom Costello is also thrilled for O’Donnell.
“Very happy for my former @NBCNews colleague, @NorahODonnell just named anchor of @CBSEveningNews,” he wrote. “Class act and such a nice person. Kudos Norah!”
Katie Couric, who previously held the position, wished O’Donnell well. “Congratulations @NorahODonnell on your new post as anchor and managing editor of the @CBSEveningNews! Only the third woman to solo anchor a network evening news broadcast — an important and needed step in representing more than half the population!”
Couric lasted five years. She earned $15 million annually. But it wasn’t a boon for CBS’s ratings.
“In moving Couric into its celebrated anchor desk, CBS forgot that its most loyal viewers were less interested in a marquee star than in a stolid news brand,” LAT‘s James Rainey wrote in 2011. “News executives aimed at broadening their audience when they should have been concerned, first, with preserving what they had. They bet that a ray of morning sunshine would appeal in the more steely evening landscape.”
Couric found the experience to be a “pretty confining venue.” In 2015, during an interview at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit, she said she should have moved at a “slower pace” and “been more political and sucked up to the right people.”
Many blamed CBS President Les Moonves for the poor fit. Moonves is now out at CBS because of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. He resigned last year after being at the network for 15 years.
Timing for O’Donnell’s power move couldn’t be better.
But with success comes skeptics.
Conservative radio host Mark Levin cracked, “Another liberal takes over as CBS Evening News host.”
Viewer Denis O’Conner tweeted, “I for one will not be watching. Not happy with the way Jeff Glor was treated. Plus the production team of the CBS Evening all have to relocate to Wash DC. I predict your ratings will plummet based on how this was all handled. Go David Muir!”
Viewer Ann Muldet wrote, “We will not be watching CBS News. We enjoyed watching @jeffglor. He showed humanity in every broadcast.”
She added, “I WILL NOT WATCH CBS NIGHTLY NEWS AGAIN! Norah…..too much opinion….just report the news! Wishing Jeff Glor the best!”