Report: Susan Zirinsky Preparing to Step Down as CBS News President

By Jason Lynch 

Susan Zirinsky’s time as CBS News president appears to be coming to an end.

Zirinsky is nearing a deal to step down as CBS News chief and sign a production partnership deal with ViacomCBS, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint.

The new production deal would enable Zirinsky to return to her first love, hands-on producing, and create content for not only CBS News but ViacomCBS’ new streaming service, Paramount+. However, she will reportedly continue running CBS News until her replacement is found—a search that has already been ongoing for “several months,” according to Flint.

CBS News declined comment to TVNewser about the report, which comes after months of speculation after Zirinsky’s future atop CBS News.

Zirinsky—then 48 Hours senior executive producer—was named CBS News president in January 2019, after David Rhodes announced plans to step down in February 2019, when his contract expired.

She has called CBS News home since 1972, beginning as a part-time desk assistant in the CBS Washington Bureau while attending college at American University, and moving up through the ranks over decades.

During her time as president, Zirinsky shook up CBS Evening News, moving CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell into the anchor chair, while also signing Gayle King to a new contract, keeping her at CBS This Morning.

And, of course, she has navigated CBS News through the pandemic, which Zirinsky told Adweek editor and svp of programming Lisa Granatstein last October has been the most challenging era of her career.

Meanwhile, as we mentioned last week, Zirinsky’s most likely internal successor, evp of news Kim Godwin, is reportedly in the “final stages of negotiations” to succeed James Goldston as ABC News president.

This continues a year of upheaval among news chiefs. In addition to Goldston’s departure from ABC News last month, CNN Worldwide president and WarnerMedia News and Sports chairman Jeff Zucker said earlier this year that he’ll finish his current contract, which runs through the end of the year, but then “I expect to move on.” And in February, Rashida Jones took over for Phil Griffin as MSNBC president.

 

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