Gayle King helped relaunch CBS This Morning in 2012 alongside Charlie Rose and she has since emerged as the heart of the news division.
It’s why King’s contract has become a topic of much media speculation and utmost importance in the halls of CBS.
“As far as I know I still have a contract there,” King joked to The Hollywood Reporter during a phone interview Thursday to talk about a series of interviews she did related to the explosive Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland.
But her current deal is up this year and those who know King, 64, say she has been concerned about the direction of CBS This Morning, which has endured a worrisome ratings slide amid anchor changes.
The Hollywood Reporter writes that if she stays at CBS News, these people have said, she wants some assurance that her show is going to be positioned to succeed. And so while news CBS News president Susan Zirinsky has many issues to deal with — she recently appointed Bill Owens as executive producer of 60 Minutes — her immediate priority, say numerous CBS News sources, is extending King’s contract.
“Everything hinges on Gayle,” said one CBS News staffer. “She wants to be part of something competitive. I think they have some heavy lifting to do still with Gayle.”
Recent news reports that O’Donnell could replace Jeff Glor as the anchor of CBS Evening News, which has experienced ratings erosion since Glor took over from Scott Pelley, have only added to the consternation inside CBS News. Zirinsky has tamped down those rumors, which have been swirling almost since Glor took over in December 2017.
Meanwhile, CBS This Morning is also without a permanent executive producer. But Zirinsky’s first order of business is King. And given King’s profile, résumé and connections, she would seem to have options on the open market.
As to whether King sees herself at CBS News this time next year, she said: “Oooh, that’s a good question. All I can say is I really love my job. And I think it’s kind of foolish to predict the future.”