Scott Pelley is out at “CBS Evening News,” Page Six at The NY Post first reported.
Sources say that ‘Pelley’s’ office was being cleared out on Tuesday while the anchor was away on an assignment for the network’s news magazine “60 Minutes.”
Pellety’s being shifted permanently to “60 Minutes.”
Insiders tell us that CBS News president David Rhodes “is making [Pelley] move to ‘60 Minutes,’ ” and that the pair “don’t get on.”
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. This could have been handled better — [Pelley] is away on a story, and they’re cleaning out his office. It’s not the correct way to treat the face of CBS news.”
No replacement has yet been named, but CBS has a deep bench of anchors who can fill in.
According to The NYTimes, Pelley has consistently been in third place in the ratings among the newscasts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, behind Lester Holt of NBC and David Muir of ABC, who have traded victories this season. Holt is winning in the all-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic, and Muir has the lead in total viewers.
Movers were seen clearing out items from Pelley’s CBS office on Tuesday, but that was apparently at the decision of Pelley, who was jumping the gun ahead of an announcement of his departure, according to two people briefed on the move who requested anonymity to discuss private personnel shifts. Pelley is currently reporting from the Middle East.
As CBS prepares for new competition from Megyn Kelly, whose newsmagazine show is set to debut on NBC on Sunday, network executives are looking to double down on “60 Minutes,” which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Pelley is seen as a key player in those plans, according to The Times.
The president of CBS News, David Rhodes, was expected to announce the move to the staff on Wednesday morning.
Earlier on Tuesday, CBS announced a management shake-up at its entertainment division, with Glenn Geller stepping down as president and Kelly Kahl, the network’s longtime scheduling czar, taking his place.
That move came two months after Mr. Geller went on medical leave following a heart attack. Mr. Geller was originally expected to return to the job at the end of May.
Pelley became the anchor of the CBS Evening News on June 6, 2011, succeeding Katie Couric. In his first 9 months in the anchor chair, Pelley gained an additional 821,000 viewers. CBS News has also enjoyed increases in its audience for special news events. After election night, 2012, Variety wrote, "With Scott Pelley front and center; the Eye was up 8% from four years ago." The CBS Evening News has increased its audience every year from 2011 through 2015. On May 29, 2015, the media website, The Wrap, wrote: "These days, CBS brass may finally have a reason to smile. On Wednesday, the network announced “Evening News with Scott Pelley” added more than 1.25 million viewers over the past four years – a whopping 21 percent jump. The show also saw audience growth for the fifth consecutive season, the first time any network evening news broadcast has done that since 1987."
At the end of the 2015-2016 television season, CBS News announced, "The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, America’s fastest growing network evening news broadcast, finished the 2015-16 television season with CBS’s highest ratings in the time period in 10 years (since the 2005-06 season), according to Nielsen most current ratings. The CBS Evening News has grown its audience for six consecutive seasons, a first-time achievement for any network evening news broadcast since the advent of people meters (since at least 1987). Under Pelley, who assumed the anchor chair in June 2011, the CBS Evening News has added +1.4 million viewers and an audience increase of + 23%, which is double NBC and ABC’s growth combined over the same period (since the 2010-11 season)."
Pelley’s coverage of the Trump administration has been recognized by journalists and media evaluators. According to Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, Pelley’s coverage of the Trump administration is an example of "pointed truth telling" that has "set himself apart" from his competitors. Media critic Andrew Tyndall said: "To me, it’s not commentary. It’s actual reporting."