Scott Pelley is reportedly no longer the anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The network is moving him to a full-time role on 60 Minutes from now on, according to the “Page Six” gossip section of the New York Post, which has been following this story for months.
Pelley has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since 1999, first with the now-defunct 60 Minutes II.
He has been in the anchor and managing editor chair for the CBS Evening News since June 6, 2011, when he took over for Katie Couric.
CBS isn’t wasting any time and has already started cleaning out his office while Pelley is on assignment elsewhere, the Post claims, adding that part of the problem is that he and CBS New President David Rhodes don’t get along.
“Another TV insider said while Pelley’s ratings have been down, ‘There’s also been friction between him and [Rhodes].’ Added a source, ‘[Pelley] was pushed out of the Evening News. It’s been coming for a long time’…”
CBS itself has yet to issue a statement on Scott Pelley’s status.
No successor has yet been named, but CBS has plenty of would-be anchors waiting in the wings for what used to be, anyway, a plum position. The three evening news programs on the ABC, NBC, and CBS broadcast networks are a relic of the past, however, and their market share has been dwindling. With the growth of the 24-hour cable news cycle and the internet, a 6:30 p.m. news show is anything but appointment viewing. To some degree, ratings-challenged ESPN is experiencing the same issue because it’s no longer necessary to wait around for SportsCenter to watch game highlights.
In the May ratings period, CBS Evening News finished in third place in both overall viewership and in the advertiser-coveted 25-54 age cohort, behind the NBC and ABC counterpart programs.
Back in December, the Post reported that Pelley was on his way out as news anchor and also bought a ranch in Texas which would do double duty as his 60 Minutes home office. Pelley, 59, was born in San Antonio.
— Page Six (@PageSix) May 31, 2017
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The Post also reported late last year that the Pelley to 60 Minutes decision minimizes the lost face over the face of CBS News losing the high-visibility gig.
“Insiders tell us the switch is ideal because the 60 Minutes position is prestigious enough that the network wouldn’t have to deal with the p.r. headache of seeming to ‘demote’ one of its most high-profile talents.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) May 31, 2017
Controversial author and filmmaker Mike Cernovich created a lot of buzz, which Cernovich fans contend exposed Scott Pelley for media bias, in a 60 Minutes segment about fake news.
In an exchange about former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s health (see clip below), Pelley seemed to accept at face value what the Clinton campaign said about the former secretary of state’s physical condition at the time without any independent verification either way.
As you might expect, the reaction on Twitter to Scott Pelley stepping down (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) is mixed, with some praising Pelley as a fine journalist who will be missed on the CBS Evening News and others scolding him for what they consider a track record of biased reporting.
“The timing is also intriguing as Pelley has loads of positive press for his anti-Trump zingers and liberal positions throughout the presidential election,” conservative media watchdog NewsBusters observed about Pelley’s job change.
This is a developing story. Watch this space for updates on the apparent removal of Scott Pelley as CBS Evening News anchor.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]