NEW YORK — CBS News moved swiftly Sunday after Bob Schieffer’s retirement announcement to name the network’s political director, John Dickerson, as the new moderator of “Face the Nation.”
Dickerson, a former Time magazine and Slate writer who has been with CBS since 2009, will begin his new role early this summer.
Schieffer, who made the announcement on Sunday’s show, noted that Dickerson “sure has the right bloodlines” for the assignment. Dickerson’s mother, Nancy, was the first female correspondent in the CBS News Washington bureau.
Schieffer, the 78-year-old chief Washington correspondent of CBS News, announced Wednesday that he would be leaving the job early this summer. Schieffer has been with CBS News since 1969 and “Face the Nation” moderator since 1991.
Dickerson’s reporting ability, and the fact that he spends his weeks immersed in political coverage, made him a natural for the job, CBS News President David Rhodes said Sunday. The Washington-based Sunday morning public affairs shows are hotly competitive, with “Face” often beating NBC’s “Meet the Press” and ABC’s “This Week” in the ratings.
While “Face” has updated its look recently and Dickerson is expected to be more active in social media than Schieffer, Rhodes isn’t calling for major changes in the show.
“You want to change things that aren’t working,” Rhodes said. “The things that are working you want to continue with.”
It was important for CBS to establish its new Sunday host quickly with the 2016 presidential campaign starting in earnest, Rhodes said. CBS made the announcement on the same day Hillary Clinton was expected to declare her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
While one of Dickerson’s competitors, George Stephanopoulos at ABC, also works as host of the weekday “Good Morning America,” CBS chose not to split its duties. Norah O’Donnell was considered a contender to replace Schieffer but CBS wants her to concentrate on hosting the network’s weekday morning show.
Dickerson’s other competitor is another rookie and political junkie, Chuck Todd, who replaced David Gregory last fall as “Meet the Press” moderator
John Dickerson said he’s “honored and excited” by the new job.