CBS News Prepares for the Scott Pelley Era

By Alex Weprin Comment

Tonight at 6:30 PM ET, Scott Pelley will make his debut as the anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”

It is only fitting that on the same day that the last anchor of the “CBS Evening News” made her next move official, a new era for the program begins.

Behind the Scenes however, there are some other changes coming to the newscast–changes that reflect the current state of network news divisions–but also ones that viewers at home probably won’t notice.

The new executive producer of the newscast, Pat Shevlin, raised some eyebrows during a staff meeting in late May. Shevlin–who had been EP of the weekend edition of the program, told staffers that she wants to have more pieces for the weekday newscast shot by producers.

That would be in line with what she had championed on the weekend program, as well as what most of the other major news organizations are doing now anyway. As it happens, the weekday edition of the “Evening News” already uses some producer-shot pieces.

Nonetheless, the comment caught some staffers off-guard, especially because the program’s new anchor, Pelley, was coming from “60 Minutes,” where the crews tended to be full-sized.

In the meeting, Shevlin acknowledged that “there is a distance” between she and Pelley over the use of producer-shooters, though two CBS News sources said that Pelley agrees with Shevlin’s vision for the program, including expanding the use of producer-shooters.

Regardless of the effort that goes into producing those pieces, viewers will get their first look at Pelley as the permanent anchor of the program tonight.