CBS has been under fire this past year, as several high-profile scandals have plagued the network. Most notably was the ousting of former CEO Leslie Moonves, after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him surfaced in September. The company has been going through turbulent times, but already, there’s optimism that CBS will turn the corner in 2019. One reason for that is the promotion of Susan Zirinsky, who made headlines this week by becoming the first woman ever to run CBS’ news department.
CBS’ recent turmoil has been more than just the Moonves scandal; longtime news anchor Charlie Rose was also forced out due to multiple sexual misconduct accusations. On top of that, Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” was recently fired for threatening a colleague who was looking into his alleged sexual harassment incidents.
Considering all of this, it makes sense to put a woman in charge of CBS News, putting her in position to reshape the organization’s culture and eradicate the company’s myriad problems with sexism. According to The New York Times, Zirinsky, a CBS veteran and the longtime producer of “48 Hours,” was the top choice for the job.
“I can think of no one more equipped than ‘Z’ for the job,” acting CBS chief executive Joe Ianniello reportedly told his staff. “We are delighted she has welcomed these new responsibilities.”
Zirinsky will play a key role in reshaping the culture at CBS. Since the Moonves scandal broke, there’s been an ongoing conversation about changes the network needs to make in terms of respecting women. As one of very few women ever elevated to the position of TV network news head, Zirinsky will be regarded as a trailblazer in her field.
Of course, Zirinsky has a host of credentials beyond merely her gender. She’s been a key part of the CBS News team for more than four decades now in various roles, including working for the network’s morning show, its evening newscast, and its coverage of the White House. In 1996, she took over “48 Hours.” In her new role as head of all news at CBS, she will seek to improve the network’s ratings by capitalizing on the American public’s high level of interest in news content today.
“I have been honored to work closely throughout my career with great CBS News journalists,” Zirinsky said in a statement. “This may be a new role, but the mission is the same: deliver quality, in-depth journalism and engaging storytelling. CBS News has an incredible legacy to build on.”