Face the Nation host and CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer has announced that he will be retiring. Schieffer, 78, has worked for CBS News for 46 years and has hosted Face the Nation for 24 years.
Schieffer has had a prolific career at CBS News. He has covered all four of the main Washington beats- the White House, Pentagon, Congress, and Department of State. He also was the anchor of the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News for 23 years. He also served as an interim anchor of CBS Evening News following Dan Rather’s departure and until Katie Couric took over permanently.
Schieffer made the announcement at his alma mater, Texas Christian University, during their annual Schieffer Symposium. The university has named their journalism school and the college after Schieffer which he has described that as his highest honor. He said he wanted to make the announcement at his alma mater, where he started. “Because that was where it all started for me, I wanted this to be the place, and I wanted you all to be the first to know that this summer I’m going to retire,” he said.
He has also moderated three presidential debates. He moderated in 2004, 2008, and 2012.
Face the Nation is in one of its strongest positions. The show, which celebrated 60 years last year, is regularly at the top of the ratings in both the 25-54 demo and total viewers. The show has also expanded to a full hour, however only about half of the affiliates show the full hour. Schiffer said he is happy where Face the Nation and CBS News is now, “Face the Nation, I think, is better than it has ever been.” He also said, “We like any large organization we have had our ups and downs; we’re on a high right now.”
CBS News President David Rhodes sent a memo to the staff about Schieffer’s decision. We have included it below. Rhodes will now have to decide who will take over for Schieffer on Face the Nation. Norah O’Donnell is seen as a potential replacement and she regularly substitute hosts for Schieffer. However, she is currently the co-host of CBS This Morning which has been making gains in its timeslot. Rhodes could have O’Donnell do both shows theoretically, like ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos.
Read Rhodes’s memo to staff:
Bob Schieffer will retire this summer. Our Chief Washington Correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation made the announcement here in Fort Worth tonight at TCU’s Schieffer College of Communication.
I know what you’re thinking: Bob’s thought about retiring before, is he really retiring now? And of course with his long connection to CBS News we’d be happy to learn that he’s not leaving now– or that he can be seen by our viewers in the future.
But speaking at the annual Schieffer Symposium here with colleagues Gayle King, Holly Williams, and a large audience of students and friends from his home community, Bob said he wanted to end it where it began. He graduated from TCU and before long went to work at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Bob’s been with CBS since 1969… Chief Washington Correspondent since 1982… and host of Face the Nation since 1991. That broadcast is in its 60th year and has never been better or more powerful, ranking consistently number one this season.
He’s been an inspiration and a mentor to so many colleagues– and frankly, to me. You could see at TCU tonight how that inspiration extends to a wider community of reporters and editors and academics… Not to mention the example he sets as a father and husband with his wife Pat and his whole family here and elsewhere.
It’s not over yet. Bob will be on the air this Sunday from the Washington bureau. And for a number of Sundays to come. We’ll have more to report soon about the plans for this important broadcast and for the Washington bureau as a whole. An important 2016 campaign season is beginning. But this is Bob’s night and I hope we can all celebrate with him the remarkable achievement which is his career here at CBS.