Company Town

Scott Pelley said to be out as anchor of ‘CBS Evening News’

Scott Pelley
Scott Pelley at the anchor desk of the “CBS Evening News” in February 2015.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Scott Pelley is leaving the anchor desk of “CBS Evening News” in a major shake-up at the storied broadcast network.

The New York Post reported Tuesday that Pelley’s belongings were being removed from his office while he was away on assignment for “60 Minutes,” which will become his full-time home at the network.

CBS News representatives did not comment on the account. But a person familiar with the news division’s plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly said Pelley is going to depart “CBS Evening News” to become a full-time correspondent at the newsmagazine. The move could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning.

Pelley, 59, has been in the “CBS Evening News” anchor chair since June 2011, when he replaced Katie Couric. He has been with CBS News since 1989 and has been a “60 Minutes” correspondent since 2004.

Although Pelley has built on the audience he inherited from Couric, his broadcast has been behind “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” and “ABC World News Tonight With David Muir” in the ratings throughout its run. The program’s competitive position has been a source of frustration for CBS executives, which has led to speculation in recent months that Pelley would be replaced.

There are no obvious successors to Pelley inside CBS. The one name mentioned most by TV news insiders in recent months is Norah O’Donnell, who is the co-anchor of “CBS This Morning” with Charlie Rose and Gayle King. The program has been giving CBS its best morning ratings in 29 years and has become a significant profit center for the news division. For that reason, the network is likely to consider the impact of breaking up the successful trio for the sake of the evening news time period that accounts for far less revenue than the morning segment.

Evening news programs have long been considered the signature broadcasts for network news. But 24-hour cable news networks and live news on the demand through the Internet have eroded the evening news audiences in recent years. In the May sweeps ratings period measured by Nielsen, “ABC World News” averaged 7.59 million viewers a night and “NBC Nightly News” averaged 7.56 million. Pelley’s broadcast averaged 6.1 million.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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UPDATES:

8:35 p.m.: This article was updated with additional background information on CBS News.

9:50 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on Pelley’s departure from “CBS Evening News.”

This article was originally posted at 7:50 p.m.