It’s no news that Norah O’Donnell, CBS news anchor, can be very hard to work with. She was assigned the role in 2019, following the footsteps of her predecessors such as Dan Rather, Katie Couric, Connie Chung, and others. Before this, she was passed over for the role in 2017, and she didn’t hesitate to air her grievances.
The anchor took to her social media the same day another person, Jeff Glor, was given the role. She posted a picture of herself running and captioned,
“Reposted this running photo as a reminder to myself that life is a lot like training for a road race.” She added, “Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into the goal, you fall short. There’s always another race.”
In 2019, she was almost passed over again, especially since she had taken up the anchoring of the network flagship show. Rumors at the time were that her co-anchor, Gayle King, wrote in her statement of how she didn’t want to work with O’Donnell. This was dismissed, however, by the network.
“The blood is so bad between the morning news co-hosts,” one source told Page Six that, “King demanded O’Donnell be moved off the show as part of her recent contract negotiations, which kicked off after her now-infamous [R. Kelly] interview.”
Norah O’Donnell Allegedly Created A Toxic Work Environment Amongst Colleagues
After she won an Emmy award for a report on the sexual assaults in Airforce Academy, she took to her Facebook to celebrate. “This was the toughest story I covered in the last year,” O’Donnell wrote.
This got many people upset, including a source who explained to the Daily Mail that her team “spent months working on the report” for and with her. They added, “With Norah, it’s always about me.”
Other members of the team share the same sentiments. “Norah adds anxiety in the newsroom. She doesn’t treat people well. Norah is demanding but can be so harsh in her treatment of people — particularly women — I’ve seen a lot of tears. People live in fear around Norah.”
The dress rehearsal the anchor has before every news time is another source of anxiety for most people on her team. The ordeal is usually for half an hour and an often “tense ritual that has seen O’Donnell chewing out dressing room stylists over her hair and makeup.”
Her Days Are Numbered On The Network
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There are rumors that swirl around that O’Donnell’s might be numbered at the network. According to the New York Post, the present president of CBS is trying to make the network more profitable and is eyeing primetime shows to help “find a cheaper alternative to be last in the ratings,” per one source.
Although the network says they have no plans to change the news anchor, CNN reported that Brian Williams was approached to take over the news show in January. “CBS Mornings” anchor Tony Dokoupil, who had been reporting from Poland and doubled as O’Donnell’s guest on the show, has been rumored to be another choice candidate.
O’Donnell is still broadcasting the news from Washington DC while her other colleagues are reporting on the war in Ukraine.
She Didn’t Travel To Cover The War
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According to the same outlet, O’Donnell’s exit speculations increased after Russia invaded Ukraine. Amongst all news staff, she was the only one who didn’t travel to Eastern Europe to cover the invasion.
This took a toll on the network’s ratings, and although she’ll be traveling to Poland later this weekend to cover the conflict, many allege that it’s too late.
“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, D.C.,” said a source. “Either she didn’t want to go, or the leadership didn’t want her to go. It’s bad either way.”
Before the war, the anchor reached 5.3 million to 5.6 million people.
“I don’t know if Neeraj can make the final decision, but he’s going to bring [ratings] data to George Cheeks and Bob Bakish,” the source mentioned, referring to the network’s CEOs. ‘Norah’s contract is up in May. There’s time.”
Although there’s been no reaction from the news anchor, her publicist Cindy Berger has come out to support her vehemently.
“It’s a clothing allowance; every news anchor has one. That figure is incorrect. I am vehemently refuting these outrageous and sexist claims!”
Another co-worker Khemlani defended her as he echoed his sentiments in an email. “It’s offensive that female anchors and reporters get this type of sexist treatment.”
Some CBS staffers believe that Khemlani intends to keep O’Donnell as a staff, alleging that he’s only “trying to get a new anchor” as a way of getting her to accept a “massive pay cut.”