Times Staff Writer

Citing personal and professional reasons, Phyllis George resigned Friday as co-anchor of the troubled "CBS Morning News," which she joined only last January amid much criticism of her hiring.

Two relatively unknown newcomers, Forrest Sawyer, a former Atlanta television anchorman, and Maria Shriver, a niece of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), were named as the new co-anchors, effective immediately.

In a statement, George said that after a two-week vacation at home in Kentucky, she had decided "to rearrange my priorities."

George, whose husband--former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown--is preparing to run for the governorship again, said she had informed CBS News President Ed Joyce "that I have a desire not to continue with my present CBS assignments. This is a personal as well as a professional decision."

George, who came to the two-hour program from CBS Sports with no background in hard news reporting, will not return to the program, CBS said. Whether she will continue at CBS News isn't known, a spokeswoman said. Her agent in Los Angeles, Ed Hookstratten, said she has asked for reassignment at CBS.

It had been rumored for weeks that the network was trying to ease George out of the program, but CBS officials denied this.

The program has for years been third in ratings for network morning shows. The hiring of George was part of an effort by CBS News to revamp the show. She had succeeded Diane Sawyer, now at "60 Minutes." George's co-anchor, Bill Kurtis, left in June to return to anchoring at CBS-owned WBBM-TV in Chicago.

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