There were unsettling scenes at CBS Wednesday when top talent and execs hosted a peculiar “pep rally” for the revamped “CBS Evening News” — which left some staffers “embarrassed” and “confused.”
We’re told that as part of the morale booster at CBS headquarters, incoming anchor Norah O’Donnell, heavyweight news division president Susan Zirinsky and “Evening News” executive producer Kim Godwin starred in taped “music video” set to a DJ Khaled song — complete with a dance routine.
We’re told the scene sent heads spinning — a flurry of texts about the surreal occasion bouncing around the industry.
As part of the rally — in which the video was followed by an upbeat PowerPoint presentation about the division’s future — O’Donnell told the crowd that she planned to be in the gig, “until she retires,” which drew some sly smiles from attendees, since the “CBS Evening News” job has been notoriously unstable, seeing off predecessors Jeff Glor and Katie Couric after short, tumultuous runs.
Meanwhile, a more cheerful source in the room told us, “This was a session about the vision for the show centered on journalism with integrity and the structure moving forward. People left completely energized and excited about the future.”
We’re told the event was officially billed as an “editorial rally” internally, rather than a “pep rally.”
Zininsky announced in May that former “CBS This Morning” co-anchor O’Donnell would replace Glor, who had the job for 18 months. She’ll make her debut July 15.
Reps for O’Donnell and CBS declined to comment.
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