Jane Pauley is becoming a morning television host again — this time at a much more relaxed pace. CBS said Sunday she will replace Charles Osgood as anchor of the “Sunday Morning” telecast.
The bow-tied Osgood told viewers at the end of his last telecast after 22 years that Pauley would replace him. She’s been a contributor to the show since 2014.
Pauley will be only the third host of the program since its 1979 start with Charles Kuralt. “Sunday Morning” averages nearly 6 million viewers a week, the most popular morning news program on the weekend, heavy on features and a quiet, cultured vibe. Osgood leaves on a high note; ratings have increased for four straight years, and this past season was his most-watched ever as host.
“Sunday Morning” devoted its program Sunday to a send-off for the 83-year-old Osgood, who will be an occasional contributor in the future and continue his radio work.
“It’s a great honor to be given the chance to further our show’s legacy on excellence,” Pauley said. “I look forward to bringing loyal viewers the kind of engaging, original reporting that has made the broadcast so irresistible for so long.”
Pauley, 65, was an anchor at Chicago’s WMAQ-Channel 5 when she was hired in 1976 to co-host NBC’s “Today” show, a job she held for 13 years. The Indiana native spent a decade as an anchor at “Dateline NBC” and tried her own syndicated talk show in 2004.
She’s written two books, and the second — about people over age 50 learning new careers and skills — drew at the attention of “Sunday Morning.”
The show did a story about Pauley’s book, and viewers responded so positively she was invited to become a contributor, said Rand Morrison, the show’s executive producer.
Stories she’s worked on for “Sunday Morning” include a profile of Hillary Clinton, a report on educators who lived through the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are trying to change gun laws, and an interview with David Letterman when he left late-night TV.
“A worthy successor and a perfect fit,” Morrison said.
CBS honored Osgood with a tribute that delved into his signatures: a fashionable bow tie, his love of telling stories in verse and piano playing. He sat at the piano to sing a song of farewell.
“I can’t think of anything that has given me more pleasure professionally than ‘Sunday Morning,’ ” Osgood said during the show.
It featured cameos from Tom Brokaw, who tried futilely to tie his own bow tie; Ted Koppel, who noted that Osgood’s real last name, Wood, was abandoned professionally because ABC had another newscaster named Charles Wood; and Letterman, whose beard is approaching Santa Claus lengths.
Pauley begins as full-time host on Oct. 9, after the show takes a week off for a football game.
David Bauder, Associated Press