CBS News Sunday Morning “has suspended all the rules of television,” says anchor Charles Osgood.
As it celebrates its 30th anniversary today — Sunday Morning premiered January 28, 1979 — the show that presents longer-form, feature-driven stories at a decidedly un-2009, un-frenzied pace is not only surviving, it’s thriving.
Ratings are strong — the Sunday before the inauguration, the show came in first in all key demos and had its largest audience in nearly three years. And that could be considered an interesting feat, in light of the current heavy news cycle. After all, Osgood says, “Sunday Morning is blessedly free of news, ordinarily.”
The network, Osgood tells TVNewser, must think “we’re some kind of crazy aberration.”
A special anniversary broadcast is set for this Sunday. Among the stories planned is a look at how the world has changed over the last thirty years.
But at Sunday Morning, “the most important things have stayed the same,” says Osgood. He adds, with a laugh, that “one is that you have a guy named ‘Charles’ anchoring.”
He’s referring, of course, to his storied predecessor, Charles Kuralt, who retired from the broadcast in 1994. Charles ‘the second’ succeeded Kuralt that April. Osgood will celebrate his 15th anniversary with the show this Spring.
At 76 — “You’re not even supposed to admit that in television anymore!” — Osgood says he has no plans to step down any time soon, because “there’s nothing I’d really rather be doing than what I am doing.” He and CBS are having “friendly conversations” about his contract, which is “expiring rather soon.”
“If they would sign me to a ten-year contract,” he says, “I’d take it!” No anointing of a successor, a la Tom Brokaw-Brian Williams. In fact, Osgood jokes, “If I could identify my successor, I would try to slowly poison him!”
And so Osgood looks to the future. And Sunday Morning enters its 31st year — a rarity in television news. The secret to its success? “I think,” Osgood says, “[the show] was just a good idea to begin with.”
• Earlier on TVNewser: NAB Honors Charles Osgood