A (Very Important) Day In The Life of Scott Pelley

By Alex Weprin 

Broadcasting & Cable‘s Andrea Morabito shadowed “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley for a few days as the anchor celebrated his one-year anniversary at the news program (subscription required).

Morabito weaves a compelling “tick tock” of the day, including all of Pelley’s meetings with producers, and his daily early afternoon workout. She also describes how he splits his time between the “Evening News” and “60 Minutes,” which has offices across the street from the CBS Broadcast Center. Along the way, she reveals this fascinating tidbit:

He has come for an 11 a.m. meeting with Harry Radliffe, a 60 Minutes producer, with Bill Harwood, CBS News’ NASA consultant, on the phone, to discuss an email complaint Pelley received from Neil Armstrong—yes, that Neil Armstrong—late the night before. The former astronaut is upset with what he argues was a misrepresenting of his congressional testimony in a piece Pelley did on the SpaceX company. Armstrong claims he has been trying to reach 60 Minutes for months without success, which distresses Pelley.


After a 15-minute meeting, it is agreed that the reporting of the segment was solid, but Pelley still wants to publicly acknowledge Armstrong’s response, either on the Website or on-air, given his prominence. Pelley instructs the two others to draft a letter to Armstrong that he can review later that day.

There are lots of great moments in the piece, but this one, involving CBS CEO Les Moonves, sticks out:

At around 1:35 p.m., Pelley heads upstairs for a 50-minute workout, showers and changes into his clothes for the broadcast: black suit, blue shirt, blue striped tie. At 3 p.m., it’s time for the daily editorial meeting. About 25 Evening News staffers pack the fishbowl, where Shevlin goes over the night’s broadcast as of now. During the meeting, Pelley’s assistant sneaks in to hand him a message—he has missed a call from Moonves. Immediately after the meeting wraps, Pelley calls Moonves back, then delivers the CEO’s words of encouragement to the room. “He says he’s so proud of CBS News, that we’ve made him proud.” Pelley decides to send his boss a cap.