Bringing more than 21 years of experience with CBS News to the table, Scott Pelley has been named anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News, CBS News Chairman and “60 Minutes” Executive Producer Jeff Fager and David Rhodes, President of CBS News announced. “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley” begins June 6 and replaces Katie Couric’s post there. Pelley will also continue to report stories for “60 Minutes.”
Couric was the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” since September 2006 and recently announced she will not renew her contract. The first woman to helm broadcast network evening news, Couric saw ratings quickly deteriorate after her debut, resting at #3 in the pack with ABC and NBC for most of her time in the chair. No one is sure if it had anything to do with her being a woman in a traditionally-male anchor role, her delivery of the news, or something else.
“Scott has it all. He has the experience, the credibility and he is among the very best reporters ever to work at CBS News,” said Fager. “In more than two decades at CBS News, he has distinguished himself at every level, right up to his current role at ’60 Minutes,’ where his work has been incomparable. We like to think of CBS News as the ‘reporter’s network’ and I can’t think of anybody in this business better suited for the anchor chair than Scott.”
“Scott is the ideal journalist to lead this broadcast. We’re very proud to have him guiding this news organization’s reporting each and every evening,” said Rhodes. “He has a body of work few in the business can claim and will help us grow CBS News now and in the future.”
Pelley has covered everything from breaking national news stories to politics to wars and served as the network’s chief White House correspondent. Since he brought that experience to “60 Minutes” in 2004, half of all the major awards won by the broadcast have been for stories reported by Pelley.
His recent “60 Minutes” reports include segments on late-breaking stories such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the mass murder in Tucson that seriously wounded Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords. His list of interview subjects includes: President George Bush; two unprecedented interviews with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, during the recent economic upheaval known as the Great Recession. It was the first time in decades that a sitting Federal Reserve Chairman allowed an interview. Pelley also has interviewed Justice John Paul Stevens; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Sharif El-Gamal, the man behind the “Ground Zero mosque;” and the astonishing story of Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon who survived the explosion that caused the Gulf oil spill – a story that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia award.
Before becoming chief White House correspondent, Pelley was assigned to the 1992 presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. Prior to that, he served as a CBS News correspondent based in Dallas.
All told, Pelley and his team’s distinguished body of work have received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton, two George Foster Peabody awards, 14 national Emmy awards, five Edward R. Murrow awards, a George Polk and a Loeb award, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Writers Guild of America. Twenty-one of those awards have been earned for his work over the past five years on “60 Minutes.”
Prior to his time at CBS News, Pelley was a producer/reporter for WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth (1982-89), KXAS-TV Dallas/Fort Worth (1978-81) and KSEL-TV Lubbock, Texas (1975-78).
RBR-TVBR observation: Couric’s contract with CBS reportedly paid her $15 million per year. CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves had made it clear that, while he’d like to keep her at the network, it would not renew the contract at such a level. With evening network news ratings on the decline, we’re pretty confident Pelley didn’t receive something in that range either. However, his keeping a role at 60 Minutes and the tenure Pelley has at the network has to mean a pretty substantial pay package.