Gayle King on the Susan Zirinsky Promotion: ‘She Is a Smart Cookie, a Badass in Every Sense of the Word…’

By A.J. Katz 

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CBS News announced last night that after 8 years, its president David Rhodes would be stepping down from his role when his contract expires at the end of next month, and would be replaced by longtime CBS News producer Susan Zirinsky.

Rhodes will remain at CBS in an advisory role, the network says.

The trio at CBS This Morning covered the big change in its leadership ranks during this morning’s broadcast, which included playing a clip from the 1987 movie Broadcast News. Zirinsky is the model for Holly Hunter‘s character in the film, Jane Craig.

“‘Z,’ that’s what we call her in the building, is the first woman to be president of CBS News,” King reported. “CBS acting CEO, that’s Joe Iannello announced last night that Susan Zirinsky would move up from her longtime role as senior executive producer of 48 Hours; he noted that she has touched almost every part of CBS News since she started as a production clerk in 1972…”

The always-candid King gave her thoughts on the move after reading the report:

“I’ll tell you when I heard the news last night, I was doing the happy dance on the Upper West Side because I feel that we were sort of like a ship  –not sinking– but taking on water, and I feel that she is someone who can right this ship because she gets us, she knows us, and by ‘us’ I mean this organization.”

King added: “She has been here for a very long time. She is a smart cookie, she is a badass in every sense of the word. I’m really excited about this.”