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“The desires and habits of our consumers are changing day by day,” Cheeks wrote to his staff in a note last week. He effusively hailed Ms. Zirinsky as a “tireless” engine of “powerful journalism” while suggesting that it would be up to the next generation of CBS executives to usher in the modern era: “Z has helped position the division to succeed. ”

Ms. Zirinsky, in the interview, said that “every part of my being believes this transition is right, at the right time, with the right ideas.” She admitted that she would “be lying” if she said ratings were unimportant, but noted that “Evening News” had reduced its deficit in key demographics and had consolidated a newsroom that , after the convulsions of the last few years, had “I felt a bit abandoned.

Ms Zirinsky signed star Gayle King to a new contract with “CBS This Morning,” which had lost momentum following the exit of former co-host Charlie Rose over allegations of workplace misconduct. On March 8, the show beat ABC and NBC for the first time thanks to its exclusive clips of Oprah Winfrey’s CBS interview with Meghan Markle. “60 Minutes” and “CBS Sunday Morning” have remained highly respected and highly regarded.

Some of Ms. Zirinsky’s strengths – a love of production; an encyclopedic knowledge of the network – has proven to be a double-edged sword. Used to control room jokes, she sometimes meditated aloud over personnel changes, causing unease and unauthorized leaks; trained to account for every fact, she spent months seeking feedback on her next moves, delaying big decisions.

By the time Ms O’Donnell was officially appointed as the Evening News anchor in May 2019 – days after the announcement leaked to the New York Post – Ms Zirinsky had openly told her colleagues that the network’s chairmanship could suit him. . The Post reported last week that Ms. Zirinsky, in a lengthy corporate budget meeting, scribbled “I hate my job” on a piece of paper and held it up.

“I am transparent,” said Zirinsky, when asked about her expressions of frustration at work. “The passion I feel is sometimes misinterpreted. I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. If I were asked today to take on this role, I would do it again. “

CBS News has tried a number of approaches over the years to raise its fortune.

The “Evening News” tried out a megawatt star (Katie Couric) and a lesser-known local prospect (Jeff Glor). “CBS This Morning” was a revolving door for anchors and producers. David Rhodes, who had worked at Fox News before becoming president of CBS News in 2011, led the division in the style of a technocrat before being replaced by Ms. Zirinsky, the old-school leather reporter.

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