CBS This Morning co-anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell are clearing the air following reports that claimed the two weren’t on the best of terms.
The rumors, which suggested that there was a feud between the two, emerged before it was officially announced that O’Donnell would be moved from the morning show to CBS Evening News, where she’ll serve as the network’s lead anchor for political coverage.
King, 64, addressed the issue head-on during Monday’s This Morning taping, saying, “The news should rarely be about us, and sometimes what you read isn’t even true.”
She then told viewers that she was going to go off-script in her response, and described how she heard about the report in the first place.
“Thursday, I’m flying to London … we’re working on our primetime royal special,” King said. “The news breaks around 1:30 that ‘Gayle is elbowing Norah … insisting that Norah leave CBS This Morning.’ It’s so amazing to me, Norah, that after seven years together, that now people would say that you and I have some beef.”
“I have no beef with you,” King added. “You have no beef with me. Tina Brown summed it up very nicely. She said, ‘This never happens to men, this kind of cut-throat business. That the reality is it’s two great jobs for two great women,’ she said. And I also think I know that that’s true.”
King then talked about how the decision to move O’Donnell to Evening News and to move that show’s location to Washington, D.C., was made by CBS’ President, Susan Zirinsky.
“I look at Susan Zirinsky, who if you haven’t heard outside this building, is a badass in our building,” King said. “She’s our new CBS president, and when it was announced that she was taking this job in January, she said that there’s going to be some changes. She’s going to look at the lay of the land and decide.”
“She could have come in here with a weed-wacker and we’d all be on 57th street, going, ‘Taxi,’ ” King said. “But what she decided to do was take a look and see what she thought would work best, and what job would suit our role. You know this is a business about ratings. And when the ratings don’t work, they make changes. And so they’re making changes that they hope will lead to better things.”
Referencing O’Donnell’s initial announcement of her shift change, in which she said she’d give 110 percent in her new position, King said that she’d give “110 percent, too.”
O’Donnell, 45, echoed these sentiments, telling King, “You gave me some great advice. And Oprah gave me some great advice not to listen to those in the cheap seats. It’s not the critic who counts.”
Thanking King for being her “work BFF,” O’Donnell said, “You have made me better in everything that I have done.”
The Post reported on Thursday, May 2, that there was bad blood between the two co-anchors, and while King confirmed to audiences Monday that a lot of bad press was “coming from inside the building,” she found the reports “very disturbing.”
King said: “I think most people that work here support, respect, admire each other, cheer each other on. Even going to Washington was Susan Zirinsky’s idea, not yours, but I think it will make everything better and different. So, I am cheering you on.”
After they addressed the rumors on the air, both King and O’Donnell further quashed speculation about there being a beef between them on the red carpet of the Matrix Awards.
“Gayle and I have been standing shoulder to shoulder for a long time, we had to do it when CBS went through the #MeToo process,” O’Donnell told Extra Monday. “I am the luckiest person to work with Gayle King because she held my hand through that process.”
“Gayle King has made me a better journalist, a better person and a better mother. She is the first person I call when I have a problem or need a boost in confidence,” O’Donnell added, “She’s not just my work BFF, she is also my therapist. … Gayle and I talked immediately when that silly report came out and said, ‘Let’s talk Monday, and we will have the last word.’ ”
King joked, “I do like listening to people’s problems totally unsolicited.”
“In the seven years we have been together, we have never had a cross word with each other so why in the hell would it start last week when we both knew this great news would be announced,” King said. “Makes better copy, but it’s just not true.”
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