From Monday's broadcast, "CBS Evening News" becomes the first network newscast to be based exclusively in Washington.
DAVID BAUDER AP Media Writer
December 2, 2019 at 9:55 pm
2 min reading
The move of anchor Norah O'Donnell from New York to Washington gives "CBS Evening News" a unique calling card between the three network news programs starting Monday.
Although the evening news has split home bases in the past, this will be the first time that the ABC, CBS or NBC broadcast will call Washington home full time, said consultant Andrew Tyndall.
The move was designed in part to capitalize on O'Donnell's strengths as a long-time Washington reporter, said Jay Shaylor, the station's new executive producer, who joined CNN on CBS News. CBS News has built a new studio for the news.
Donnell has covered the White House, the Capitol and the Pentagon in his career as a reporter. She has been anchor of "CBS Evening News" since July.
The timing of the change would seem perfect, with the House Judiciary Committee beginning its impeachment hearings for President Donald Trump this week and the 2020 presidential primary season about to begin.
While CBS expects to take advantage of the new location, that does not mean the broadcast will become Washington-centered, Shaylor said.
"When there's a lot of news in Washington, we'll cover Washington," he said. "When there is news across the country, we'll address it."
NBC's famous Huntley-Brinkley report in the 1960s was split between Washington and New York. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ABC News split the "World News Tonight" between London, Chicago, and Washington. For over 30 years, each broadcast was based exclusively in New York.
Between remote broadcasts and teleconferencing, home bases are less important today, Tyndall said. While Shaylor will be based in Washington, much of her team will remain in New York.
Donnell has been trying to reinforce the news with original reports. "CBS Evening News" is third in the standings and viewership has dropped 10% from last season. Audience is flat for ABC's "World News Tonight," and below 6% for NBC's "Nightly News."