David Rhodes: Politics Behind Morning Show Shift, ‘Premature’ To Say What Will Happen With Erica Hill

By Alex Weprin Comment

(l-r) CBS News President David Rhodes, Norah O'Donnell, Erica Hill

Just seven months into existence, “CBS This Morning” will see its biggest change since launch, when Norah O’Donnell replaces Erica Hill come the Fall.

CBS News president David Rhodes says the move has been in the works for a little while.

“This has been an ongoing discussion, we look at every one of these broadcasts very closely, always looking for things that can be improved,” Rhodes tells TVNewser. “We have had a couple of different people at the table since we launched in January, and Norah just stood out.”

With the addition of O’Donnell, Hill’s future is up in the air at CBS.

“We are talking to her about a new role, but it is obviously premature how it is going to go,” Rhodes says. As for O’Donnell’s slot at the White House, Rhodes says those discussions are just beginning.

“There is a lot of interest in that, and obviously we didn’t begin those conversations until today, because we couldn’t, but I have every expectation that we are going to fill the role internally,” he says.

O’Donnell’s expertise in politics was a driving force behind the decision to add her to the team. Rhodes says he expects O’Donnell to begin her regular appearances on the show for the political conventions in Tampa and Charlotte at the end of August and early September.

“What we are trying to do is have the best broadcast we can on the air this Fall,” Rhodes says. “Erica was really helpful to the whole team in getting this launched . We just think that with Norah in there with Charlie and Gayle we can put on an amazing broadcast.

“It is also the case that in this season, it being an election year, and being the subject of her expertise, and having spent so much time covering politics, it is a pretty unique opportunity to make a move like this, because it will be so much of what we will be talking about,” he added.