Scott Pelley out as 'CBS Evening News' anchor


Scott Pelley is being replaced as anchor of CBS Evening Newsand will return full-time as a correspondent on the network’s Sunday nightnewsmagazine 60 Minutes.

Anthony Mason, a CBS News senior national correspondent and co-host ofCBS This Morning: Saturday, will serve as the CBS Evening News’ interim anchor in the coming weeks, the network announced Wednesday. Mason will continue to co-anchor CBS This Morning with Alex Wagner.

Pelley will also report on major stories and breaking news for CBS News. Scott brought the best values of 60 Minutes to the CBS Evening News, and we thank him for his commitment to the journalism of this broadcast every night these past six years, said CBS News President David Rhodes in a statement.The milestone 50th season of 60 Minutes requires Scotts full contribution, and we look forward to important reporting from him for many years to come.


The first reports of Pelley’s departure came from theNew York P ost, which said Pelley’s office at the evening news was being cleaned out on Tuesday. Pelley, who has been on assignment for 60 Minutes and has not anchored the nightly news broadcast for several days, arranged to have his office moved out, according a person at CBS who was familiar with the situation but was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

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Pelley guards CBS News' hard-news heritage

Almost exactly six years ago, Pelley began anchoring the CBS Evening News, taking over for Katie Couric. Since then, CBS’ nightly newscast grew its ratings, but has remained No. 3 behind ABC World News Tonight with David Muir and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

CBS had hoped Pelley’s hard-news credentials — he has won numerous rewards for his reporting includinga record 33 Emmys — would help the broadcast catapult the competition.

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Scott Pelley talks about becoming the CBS News Evening News anchor and the role of the show in a changing media landscape. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

His tapping as anchor was a nod to CBS News’ hard news heritage and a shift from Couric’s more personality-driven approach. In addition to his work on 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II, Pelley is a former chief White House correspondent and war correspondent. “Anchoring was something I never thought I was going to do, Pelley told USA TODAY last year.


In a statement Wednesday, Pelley said, CBS has been great to me for nearly 30 years. Im glad to accept this assignment with continuing gratitude.

Even thoughevening news shows don’t have the clout they once had — with CNN, Fox News and MSNBC gaining in audience — network broadcasts still reach more than 21million viewers each night.

Six years ago, Pelley represented “a necessary choice” to replace Couric and he “immediately stamped his mark on the agenda at CBS Evening News with a decisive focus on the still-struggling economy,” said Andrew Tyndall, TV news analys t of The Tyndall Report, in a post on the research firm’s blog.

Since Trump’s election — and the resultant burgeoning interest in political news — CBS Nightly News has not seen enough of a gain, he says, so a change was needed. “None of the three network nightly newscasts has been able to cash in,” Tyndall said. “Even though all three still have sizable audiences, averaging in total almost 22 million viewers every night, they each have smaller audiences than they did this time last year, and the drop-off at CBS has been the steepest.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow USA TODAY reporterMike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.