Scott Pelley is leaving his anchor role with “CBS Evening News,” a position he has filled since 2011, two people familiar with the move said Tuesday.
Mr. Pelley will continue his duties at “60 Minutes” and devote more time to that role, the people said.
Mr. Pelley has consistently been in third place in the ratings among the newscasts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, behind Lester Holt of NBC and David Muir of ABC, who have traded victories this season. Mr. Holt is winning in the all-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic, and Mr. Muir has the lead in total viewers.
Although anchors at the major broadcast networks have lost some cachet in the last decade as viewers have increasingly migrated to cable news channels, the role is still viewed as a coveted news assignment. That is especially true at CBS, where Walter Cronkite was once a trusted presence each weeknight in American living rooms.
No replacement has been chosen for Mr. Pelley, the people said. A CBS spokeswoman declined to comment.
Mr. Pelley’s move was first reported by The New York Post.
Movers were seen clearing out items from Mr. Pelley’s CBS office on Tuesday, but that was apparently at the decision of Mr. Pelley, who was jumping the gun ahead of an announcement of his departure, according to two people briefed on the move who requested anonymity to discuss private personnel shifts. Mr. Pelley is currently reporting from the Middle East.
As CBS prepares for new competition from Megyn Kelly, whose newsmagazine show is set to debut on NBC on Sunday, network executives are looking to double down on “60 Minutes,” which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Mr. Pelley is seen as a key player in those plans.
The president of CBS News, David Rhodes, was expected to announce the move to the staff on Wednesday morning.
Earlier on Tuesday, CBS announced a management shake-up at its entertainment division, with Glenn Geller stepping down as president and Kelly Kahl, the network’s longtime scheduling czar, taking his place.
That move came two months after Mr. Geller went on medical leave following a heart attack. Mr. Geller was originally expected to return to the job at the end of May.
Thom Sherman of the CW will become CBS’s programming head and effectively the No. 2 at the network. The CW is owned by CBS and Warner Bros.
The moves in the news and entertainment divisions were unusual for CBS in that they were both reported ahead of a scheduled announcement — a departure from the no-drama reputation that the network prides itself on.
Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, said Mr. Geller approached him last week and spoke of his desire to leave.
“He said, ‘Look I don’t want to come back — I don’t think it’s the right thing for me to do,’” Mr. Moonves said in a telephone interview. “It was all handled with great care and great respect, and I was very sympathetic. You’re 45 years old; take care of yourself.”
The network said it was in discussions with Mr. Geller about a potential production deal with CBS Studios.
He declined to comment.
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