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60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley to become CBS Evening News anchor June 6

scott.jpgAll the prognostications and suggestions finally came true today, as CBS announced 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley would officially replace Katie Couric as anchor of the CBS Evening News, starting June 6.

(UPDATE: Couric has released a statement about Pelley's ascension, saying: "Scott is a great reporter and a real gentleman, who cares deeply about the news. I know he'll put his own unique imprimatur on the broadcast and will do a great job carrying on the rich tradition of The CBS Evening News.")

I wonder if Bin Laden's death hasn't forced several networks to reschedule important staffing announcements -- the New York Times reported on Sunday that NBC was expected to hold a press conference yesterday on another long-known transition: that Ann Curry would be taking Meredith Vieira's place as co-host of the Today show sometime in June.

Some critics have tried to paint these moves as evidence that the anchor job has lost its luster or impact. But Couric and Vieira's departures seem to be very specifically about these two anchors.

91739__katie_l.jpgCouric, in particular, seems to be acknowledging something certain critics said five years ago, when she first moved to CBS. Namely, that her talents in front of a camera -- personality, emotive delivery, chummy charisma with subjects -- are often the exact opposite of what is required from a top broadcast news anchor.

Now she's taking another big gamble; heading off to start a syndicated talk show when Oprah Winfrey's departure from the genre has raised competition and the industry itself is in decline. 

And failing at that might hurt worse; hosting a talk show is supposed to be her singular talent.

Best news out of all this is that Pelley will continue contributing to 60 Minutes, where he has recently provided landmark shows on the assault of colleague Lara Logan and the slide of children, especially in Florida, into poverty, post-downturn.

Click below to see CBS' press release:

SCOTT PELLEY, ONE OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED REPORTERS IN BROADCAST JOURNALISM, WILL BECOME THE NEW ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR OF "THE CBS EVENING NEWS"

Pelley Brings More Than 21 Years of Experience with CBS News and Award-Winning Journalism from "60 Minutes" to THE CBS EVENING NEWS

scott-pelley-anchor.jpgThe "CBS EVENING NEWS WITH SCOTT PELLEY" Will Debut on June 6

Scott Pelley, one the most experienced reporters in broadcast journalism, has been named anchor and managing editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS, it was announced today by CBS News Chairman and "60 Minutes" Executive Producer Jeff Fager and David Rhodes, the President of CBS News.  The appointment to the broadcast, to be re-named the CBS EVENING NEWS WITH SCOTT PELLEY, is effective on June 6.  Pelley will continue to report stories for "60 Minutes."

"Scott has it all.  He has the experience, the credibility and he is among the very best reporters ever to work at CBS News," said Fager.  "In more than two decades at CBS News, he has distinguished himself at every level, right up to his current role at '60 Minutes,' where his work has been incomparable.  We like to think of CBS News as the 'reporter's network' and I can't think of anybody in this business better suited for the anchor chair than Scott."

"Scott is the ideal journalist to lead this broadcast.  We're very proud to have him guiding this news organization's reporting each and every evening," said Rhodes.  "He has a body of work few in the business can claim and will help us grow CBS News now and in the future."  

"I am delighted to join the terrific team at the 'CBS Evening News,'" said Pelley. "It's a privilege to work alongside the most gifted and talented journalists in the industry."  

Few reporters have made as wide and as deep a mark on a news organization as Pelley has at CBS News, where he's covered everything from breaking national news stories to politics to wars and served as the network's chief White House correspondent. Since he brought that experience to "60 Minutes" in 2004, half of all the major awards won by the broadcast have been for stories reported by Pelley.  

Pelley's recent "60 Minutes" reports include news-making and insightful segments on late-breaking stories such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the mass murder in Tucson that seriously wounded Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.  His extraordinary list of interview subjects includes: President George Bush; two unprecedented interviews with Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, during the recent economic upheaval known as the Great Recession.  It was the first time in decades that a sitting Federal Reserve Chairman allowed an interview.  Pelley also has interviewed Justice John Paul Stevens; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Sharif El-Gamal, the man behind the "Ground Zero mosque;" and the astonishing story of Mike Williams, the chief electronics technician on the Deepwater Horizon who survived the explosion that caused the Gulf oil spill – a story that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia award.   

The Great Recession has been one of the biggest stories in decades and no one has covered it as memorably or meaningfully as Pelley has, with a series of impactful "60 Minutes" stories.  Last month, his story about homeless school children in Florida inspired an unprecedented outpouring of response that included a local church group's pledge of $5.6 million.  Other stories also raised awareness and charitable responses.  He profiled the residents of Wilmington, Ohio, who were left stranded when the town's largest employer, DHL, shut down its domestic operation.  He reported on the "99ers," the unemployed who ran through 99 weeks of unemployment benefits and still found themselves jobless and desperate.  In addition, he reported on "Stand Down," an annual encampment in San Diego to help homeless veterans, and did a Peabody-award-winning segment about Remote Area Medical, a volunteer medical organization that treats thousands of uninsured Americans.

All told, Pelley and his team's distinguished body of work have received an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Silver Baton, two George Foster Peabody awards, 14 national Emmy awards, five Edward R. Murrow awards, a George Polk and a Loeb award, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Writers Guild of America.  Twenty-one of those awards have been earned for his work over the past five years on "60 Minutes."

Pelley serves on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee, the refugee relief agency headquartered in New York City.  He is Co-Chair of the IRC's Board of Overseers.  He was inducted into the Texas Tech University alumni Hall of Fame and serves on the board of the university's School of Mass Communications.

Prior to his time at CBS News, Pelley was a producer/reporter for WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth (1982-89), KXAS-TV Dallas/Fort Worth (1978-81) and KSEL-TV Lubbock, Texas (1975-78).  He began his journalism career at the age of 15 as a copyboy at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper.

Scott Pelley was born in San Antonio, Texas, and attended journalism school at Texas Tech University.  He and his wife, Jane Boone Pelley, have a son and a daughter.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:57pm]

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