By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — CBS News is hoping to get the same boost from having an athlete in a non-sports role as ABC did when it plucked Michael Strahan from the set of Fox’s NFL studio show and turned him into a major personality who currently co-hosts “Good Morning America” and also hosts the latest version of “The 100,000 Pyramid.” CBS announced last week that Nate Burleson would be joining their weekday broadcast “CBS This Morning” in September. Burleson becomes the third member of the on-air team along with Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil. Burleson had previously gotten good notices for his guest host stint in May.
Current co-host Anthony Mason, who’s had that role since 2019, will shift to a new position as a cultural reporter. Burleson has been an analyst on CBS’ “The NFL Today,” and also been a reporter on the NFL Network. He’s going to continue both those jobs as well, and his periodic appearances on Nickelodeon.
The changes are another indication CBS has tired of its continual third-place status in the network morning show wars. They made a change at executive producer earlier this year as Shawna Thomas took over that position. The show is moving to a new Times Square studio this fall. In addition, Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon were recently named president and co-heads of the newly combined CBS News and Stations.
In a memo to staffers last week announcing the changes Khemlani wrote, “There is a lot in development. We’re excited to take mornings on CBS in a direction that allows the journalism and storytelling we do so well to continue to lead the conversation and define the culture of our times.”
In a statement, Thomas said that when Burleson guest hosted, “his energy was infectious in the studio, and his versatility spanned all aspects of the show.” Burleson said “life is about being ready for the right opportunities, and I have been preparing for this moment since my first day on television. Having a chance to inform, enhance or simply brighten up the morning for our viewers is an honor.”
Mason will report across the show’s morning programs and develop ideas for digital platforms. He joined CBS News in 1986, and also was interim anchor on CBS Evening News in 2017, following the exit of Scott Pelley. CBS News launched “CBS This Morning” in 2012 as a harder news alternative to its rivals. But it still trails “Good Morning America” and “Today,” and has undergone a series of changes since 2017, when Charlie Rose was fired amid sexual harassment allegations. John Dickerson joined Gayle King and O’Donnell on the show as the third co-host in 2018, and Bianna Golodryga was added as a fourth co-anchor later in the year. She left in 2019, and there were further changes that year, when Dickerson moved to “60 Minutes” and O’Donnell departed to anchor the evening news.