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March 15, 2022

NY Post: CBS News President Is Looking to Slash the Budget of the Little-Watched CBS Evening News, Is Considering Ditching Bottom-Dwelling Diva Norah O'Donnell

Also they're claiming she's guilty of "toxic behavior."

We've heard this before, but O'Donnell's contract is up this spring, and we're not hearing about any re-signing yet.

Of course, this could just be a negative story planted to drive her to accept a lower salary than she wants.

"CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell is in third place in the ratings, but sources at the network gripe that she's got a first-class attitude -- even as she faces getting sidelined by her sharp-elbowed, bean-counting boss.

CBS News co-president Neeraj Khemlani -- who has been slashing costs in a bid to make the network profitable -- is eyeing O'Donnell, who reportedly makes between $6 million and $8 million a year, and whose contract is set to expire this spring, sources told The Post.

"The next big decision from him is revamping the 'Evening News,'" said a CBS insider, who explained that the network can find a cheaper alternative to be last in the ratings.

"It's not a money maker," a second source said, adding that O'Donnell's "toxic behavior" is weighing the show down.

Speculation that her days are numbered has surged since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war. O'Donnell is the only evening TV news anchor who isn't in Eastern Europe, which has taken a toll on ratings.

For the week of Feb. 28, CBS' total viewers sank to less than 5.1 million, trailing NBC's 7.4 million and ABC's 8.8 million, Nielsen said. Prior to the war, O'Donnell was reaching around 5.6 million to 5.3 million viewers a night.

"David Muir, Lester Holt and Anderson Cooper are all in Ukraine. Where's Norah? We are in the middle of a war and she's reporting from Washington, DC," said a source. "Either she didn't want to go or leadership didn't want her to go. It's bad either way."

Here's the alleged diva behavior:

The 48-year-old anchor's "The Devil Wears Prada" routine includes a full "dress rehearsal" of the "Evening News" half an hour before the show airs -- an often tense ritual that has seen O'Donnell chewing out dressing room stylists over her hair and makeup, sources said.

"There was an incident last year in the studio where she ranted about how her bronzer was wrong," one insider said, noting that her hair and makeup staff take the brunt of her tantrums and have been known to end up in tears.

"We are in the middle of a pandemic and people are dying."

"She's a news actress," another insider said, noting that the dress rehearsals are "very unusual" for news broadcasts -- especially for an anchor who's three years into a job. A third added that the show's producers use the quirky routine as a way to coach the "robotic" O'Donnell and "make her look more human," by critiquing how she delivers the news and reads from the teleprompter.

Some of O'Donnell's staffers in DC won't miss her while she's gone. Insiders said O'Donnell has a $65,000-a-year wardrobe allowance and she is particular about which designers she wears.

"It's a clothing allowance, every news anchor has one. That figure is incorrect," O'Donnell's publicist Cindi Berger said, declining to provide a specific number.

...


O'Donnell's daily demands also include having her Gucci slides waiting in front of her dressing room door so she can put them on as soon as she is off the set.

"I am vehemently refuting these outrageous and sexist claims!" Berger emailed in response to questions about her client's wardrobe and treatment of staff.

...

The dress rehearsals have likewise rankled the network's journalists, who claim that O'Donnell uses them to exert outsize control over broadcasts, scrapping segments at the last minute as she fusses over her appearance.

I don't know if that's a real criticism. That sounds like trying to link complaints that she scrapped your report to the spicier "diva" attack line.

I would be more pleased about this except for the fact she'll be replaced by someone just as awful. The report references previous rumors that CBS had reached out to a tarnished "newsman" to replace O'Donnell -- Brian Williams.

So that's where their heads are at.

I have my own replacement picked out, but no one ever listens to me:


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posted by Ace at 12:14 PM

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