Thursday, April 12, 2018


CBS This Morning Hosts GAYLE KING and NORAH O'DONNELL  cover the April 2018 35 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN MEDIA Issue of The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Magazine!!!

GAYLE and NORAH are joined by TODAY SHOW Hosts HODA KOTB and SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, and GOOD MORNING AMERICA (GMA) Host ROBIN ROBERTS, for a discussion on the year in broadcast news, CHARLIE ROSE and MATT LAUER, equal pay, and, so Much MORE.

Here are a few interview interludes:

Gayle, Norah, describe your conversations after you read The Washington Post story on Charlie.
GAYLE KING I was stunned and shocked. I really was. Because we were all in the middle of the #MeToo conversation, I never thought we would be part of the #MeToo conversation. I never saw that coming for us.
And you considered him a friend.
KING Yes, I did. And I have to say, I still do. So it was very interesting to have a friend really let you down, and I think he did. I only speak for me. It was a punch in the stomach to me.
NORAH O'DONNELL Reflecting on it, I'm so grateful that I get to work with Gayle because I had somebody to get through it with and to figure out what we were going to do on the air and speak openly and honestly about what we felt. We were on the phone all night.
Savannah, Hoda, how hard was the morning of Nov. 29, when Matt's firing was announced?
HODA KOTB It was excruciating.
GUTHRIE We were literally both woken up out of our beds with this information. We had no idea. We had to go on the air and say something with very little information. In fact, the information we said was [all] the information we knew, it wasn't like we were holding back.
KOTB Just minutes before we're going on the air we went to Savannah's dressing room and had a moment of prayer. It was hard. It was heavy.
GUTHRIE A lot of tears.
KOTB We had each other's back, but we didn't know how emotional it would feel. When you're blindsided with information … you're almost shocked, you don't really feel the thing yet. That day was …
GUTHRIE It was crushing.
KOTB Really debilitating, yeah.
Robin, how do you think your colleagues handled their mornings when they had to inform viewers why their male co-hosts were gone?
ROBIN ROBERTS They handled it with such grace and professionalism and compassion for the women who accused these men. I was very proud of both shows at how they handled it and how they reached out to their colleagues who had brought about this change. Somebody that they had worked with — and they say they didn't see that side of that person — but to know that they did what they allegedly did …
In January, John Dickerson was named as your co-anchor …
KING I like the male/female dynamic. I still do. Men bring a different part of the conversation, and I personally like that. But do you need that? No. That's why Norah was fine with two [women]; I thought the three-person dynamic worked for us and so I was very much in favor of keeping that. And I wanted another male voice at the table. But they didn't do that because wanted that. (Laughter.)
O'DONNELL Page Six: "Gayle wins management battle against Norah, who advocated for two women!" (Laughter.)
KING It's their sandbox, they decide who plays. I never lose sight that this is a business. And when the end comes, and it does come for all of us at some point — some of our own making, some because of circumstances beyond our control — you just have to remember it ain't personal, y'all. So while you're here, you just want to do the best job that you can. And I know nobody is indispensable, nobody. But I want to make it difficult for them to get rid of me. (Laughter.) I want to make it very difficult.
O'DONNELL By doing a really good job.
How has the industry changed for women?
ROBERTS I've been doing this morning show as an anchor since 2005; we now see two women prominently at the other two morning shows. Diane for a time was the evening anchor. We've had Katie Couric as an evening anchor and our friend Gwen Ifill at PBS, may she rest in peace. My sister Sally Ann just retired after 40 years in [local news]. And to see the old footage of her from the '70s, we've come a long way in what women are doing now in TV news.
GUTHRIE Women don't wear blazers five days a week anymore! (Laughs.) It was a uniform but not because anyone told you to do that. All you wanted to do was look like all the other news ladies.
KOTB Yes, I had a lemon yellow blazer, boom, with shoulder pads. When I first came to NBC — me and my blazers — they said, "A stylist is going to come to your apartment and look at your wardrobe." I was like, "OK." She literally went like this: "No, no, no, no, no, no."
When CBS This Morning launched a little over six years ago, Charlie Rose was clearly the anchor with the most experience and visibility. But last year, both of you renewed your contracts with CBS. Was pay equity a priority for you in those negotiations?
KING Well, I don't know what Charlie was making, and all I wanted to do was to make sure that I was well paid. When I first came, I felt they were taking a chance on me, even though I had done TV news for many, many years. I wasn't a novice. I certainly wasn't a media icon the way Charlie Rose was. So I didn't expect to make what Charlie Rose was making. But as time went on and I felt that I was bringing value to the table, I did expect to be paid what he was paid. Though I still don't know what he was making.
O'DONNELL You are selling yourself short. You'd been on the air for 20 years in Connecticut.
KING Oh, I know, but the thing is, unless you were in Connecticut or Kansas City, I was not a national name outside of being Oprah's best friend. And I don't run away from that, I'm OK with that. But it became clear to me that I was also bringing something to the table and I thought I should be compensated for that. And certainly I felt that way with the three of us. People got to the point, and they would say this to me, "The show is not the same without the three of you there." I heard that a lot. I never felt that one of us was a dominant person on the show. I thought that show worked because all three of us were very much in sync. And I expected that we should be compensated for that.


“Charlie does not get a pass here. We are all deeply affected,” said King (left, with O’Donnell) on Nov. 21. Rose’s firing was announced later that day.

"Being a woman in sports, a black woman, a black, gay woman, yeah, there was tough language and denied opportunities," Roberts says.

Guthrie (left) and Kotb were photographed March 20 at the Rainbow Room in New York.

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