CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images
Bianna Golodryga, who joined “CBS This Morning” as a co-anchor less than six months ago, is leaving the morning program, two sources familiar with the matter told HuffPost.
Golodryga has been moved off the program by the new president of CBS News, Susan Zirinsky. Zirinsky felt that the show had too many anchors (it currently has four: Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, John Dickerson and Golodryga), according to the sources, who requested anonymity to freely discuss network business.
The talent change at “CBS This Morning” is the first Zirinsky has made since becoming president on March 1.
Zirinsky had hoped to keep Golodryga at CBS to work on other news programs. But Golodryga’s deal with CBS News guarantees her a co-anchor position on “CBS This Morning,” which allows her to leave the network if she isn’t kept in that role. A source close to Golodryga said she planned to exercise her option to leave.
As of early March, network insiders had expected Golodryga to stay on the morning program. But last week it became apparent that she was going to be moved off the show, according to well-placed sources. Rumors had been growing at CBS that Zirinsky, the first woman to lead CBS News, was planning to put her stamp on the news division. Zirinsky, who succeeded David Rhodes, is expected to make additional talent changes across CBS News in the coming weeks.
While CBS insiders close to Zirinsky weren’t surprised by last week’s news of Golodryga’s likely exit, CBS staff and people at CNN, where Golodryga also is under contract, were surprised. Golodryga is beloved at CBS News and CNN, and insiders said they were puzzled she wouldn’t be able to have at least a full year in the role.
She is expected to stay at CNN, where she has a contributor role. Executives at other networks told HuffPost last week that they would be interested in Golodryga should she leave CBS.
CBS is working to achieve $100 million in savings, interim CEO Joe Ianniello told investment analysts in early March, and some cuts must come from the news division. But Golodryga’s compensation was a fraction of what O’Donnell and King are being paid. Additionally, CBS News is losing a versatile anchor who was also booking guests like the Chinese tech company Huawei’s CEO Ren Zhengfei, whose daughter is facing extradition to the United States.
Golodryga joined CBS from Yahoo News in September 2017. For about a year, she served as a CBS correspondent and filled in as a co-anchor on “CBS This Morning.” At the time she joined CBS, her agent at CAA, Alan Berger, brokered an unusual deal for her. Golodryga would work simultaneously for CBS News and CNN, serving as a correspondent on CBS, and a contributor and fill-in anchor on CNN.
Since she was named a co-anchor at CBS News, Golodryga’s role at CNN has been reduced dramatically, though she makes weekly appearances on “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer.
Gayle King, who has co-anchored “CBS This Morning” since 2012, is on the cusp of finalizing a new contract, as first reported by Variety. Zirinsky made it a priority to keep King at the network. Meanwhile, Dickerson also is expected to leave the morning program after just over a year as co-anchor, The Daily Beast has reported.
For some time it has been rumored that O’Donnell would leave the morning program to anchor “CBS Evening News,” replacing Jeff Glor. If that were to happen, Zirinsky is said to favor King co-anchoring “CBS This Morning” with two men. Two possible contenders for those roles, Anthony Mason and Tony Dokoupil, joined King on Friday’s program as fill-in anchors.