CBS will replace both weekend editions of the “CBS Evening News” with other programming produced by the news division, starting May 1, according to multiple industry sources.
CBS News said in a statement in response to a reporter’s call, “Our commitment to news on the CBS television network on the weekends is not changing, and remains strong.” Indeed, sources corroborated the statement, saying CBS News content will continue to fill the time periods in which both programs currently air. It’s unclear what the names of the new programs will be, or exactly what the content will be. There has been speculation in recent days that the new shows might also draw upon the resources of CBSN, the new online streaming content service.
This would mark the first time a broadcast network has dropped both weekend counterparts to a weeknight flagship program — in this case, the storied “CBS Evening News,” which launched in the late ’40s and was for decades the world’s most-watched news program, with Walter Cronkite as anchor.
“The Evening News” Saturday edition began Feb. 5, 1966, and is the longest-running regularly scheduled weekend news edition of the three networks. It was first anchored by Roger Mudd, later by Bob Schieffer. The Sunday edition also began in February 1966 but was dropped in 1971, only to be relaunched Jan. 25, 1976. Jim Axelrod currently anchors the Saturday program; Jeff Glor is Sunday anchor.
While the weekend “CBS Evening News” programs have been an important adjunct to the weekday editions for decades, they’ve also occasionally fought sports pre-emptions to build viewership and continuity. Sometimes the editions have run short — as opposed to a full 30 minutes — because of sports overruns.
CBS stressed that news programming will continue in the time periods where “Evening News” now airs, at 6 p.m. on Sunday and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Like all news organizations — print, broadcast and cable — CBS has seen growth in its online products and has put resources into its live streaming news channel, CBSN. Former “Good Morning America” anchor Josh Elliott was recently named CBSN’s anchor.