CBS' Bob Schieffer Sets Retirement Date; But He's Said That Before
I had a bit of a chuckle when I read the New York Times article in which Face the Nation host and former CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer announces he's "probably" going to retire after January's inauguration. I was laughing, because Schieffer told me two years ago that he'd probably retire in a year when he turned 70.
Now the fact that the 71-year-old anchor told the New York Times about his plans "probably" means he's a bit more serious. And the retirement target date he told me just happened to be the time of most turmoil at the Katie Couric-led CBS Evening News, when then-executive producer Rome Hartman was fired and Couric was absorbing a tremendous amount of flak for the show's tanking ratings. Schieffer leaving then would have been taken as a vote of no confidence, particularly since he's faced a mountain of speculation that he was the anonymous source of some anti-Katie press stories.
Still, Schieffer has been talking about retiring since before he took over the Evening News when Dan Rather was ousted. And at a news organization when guys like Mike Wallace (81) and Morley Safer (76) are still contributing, there may be pressure for Schieffer to hang around and keep the Katie Couric-led news department from floundering.
Here's what he told me in 2006:
Schieffer: "I'm going to be 70 years old a year from now, and I've kind of set that as the place where I'm going to hang it up. I would guess long before then they're going to know who's going to have this job permanently. I had planned to retire last year, if the truth be known. I wasn't going to retire completely - I hope they can find a place for me on election night in 2008 - (but) I have reached the stage of my life where I want to spend more time doing other things."