Norah O’Donnell to interview Jeff Bezos for 'CBS Evening News' kickoff

Norah O’Donnell will launch her tenure as anchor of “CBS Evening News” with talk about outer space.

The anchor will hold a joint interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in which they discuss the future of space exploration, part of a broader focus by CBS News next week on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. O’Donnell is expected to interview both executives during her debut next Monday on “Evening News,” then anchor the show’s Tuesday broadcast from the Kennedy Space Center. She will also anchor “Man on the Moon,” a 10 p.m. special slated for next Tuesday that will weave together archival footage of former anchor Walter Cronkite’s coverage of the moon landing along with astronaut Neil Armstrong’s narrative of the event.

The new face behind the desk of “Evening News” is part of the network’s ambitious plans to overhaul its morning and evening standbys and get more competitive with rivals. O’Donnell will be just the second woman at CBS News to lead the venerable program solo and will play an instrumental role in a big bet by the network, which plans to move her and the program to Washington, D.C. from New York City at some point in the fall.

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Norah O'Donnell's 'CBS Evening News' debut
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Norah O'Donnell's 'CBS Evening News' debut
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 24: The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH NORAH O'DONNELL (6:30-7:00 PM, ET) debuts Monday, July 15 on the CBS Television Network and on CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 streaming news service. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
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She will carry a burden that has weighed on several of her predecessors. Despite the program’s vaunted history – it has been anchored over the decades by some of the industry’s most notable personae, ranging from Cronkite and Dan Rather to Katie Couric – the show has been mired in third place for years, well behind ABC’s leading “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “NBC Nightly News.”

O’Donnell also will interview two of the people who were by Cronkite’s side for the historic Apollo coverage: former CBS News space correspondent David Schoumacher and former CBS News director Joel Banow, who created simulations and animation that accompanied the coverage. O’Donnell also will tell the story of three trailblazing women who worked on the Apollo 11 mission.

CBS News plans to make use of archival footage of Cronkite anchoring coverage of Apollo 11’s lift-off and subsequent moon landing. At 9:32 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16, CBSN and CBS News Radio will re-air coverage of the lift-off in real time and later, at 10:56 p.m, will air real-time coverage of Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon.

Other CBS News programs will also reflect on the space event, including “CBS This Morning,” “Face The Nation, “CBS This Morning Saturday” and “CBS Sunday Morning.”

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Norah O'Donnell out and about
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Norah O'Donnell out and about
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Journalist Norah O'Donnell attends Lincoln Center Hall Of Fame Gala at the Alice Tully Hall on June 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Lincoln Center)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Norah ODonnell (R) attends the 71st Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: Journalist Norah O'Donnell attends Lincoln Center's American Songbook Gala at Alice Tully Hall on May 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lincoln Center)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Norah O'Donnell attends the 2018 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: Norah O'Donnell attends 2017 CBS Upfron at The Plaza Hotel on May 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Journalist Norah O'Donnell attends the International Women's Media Foundation's 2018 Courage in Journalism Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for International Women's Media Foundation)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 20: REBA McENTIRE ANNOUNCES NOMINEES FOR THE 54TH ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS ON CBS THIS MORNING, with CBS This Morning Co-Hosts Norah O'Donnell and John Dickerson. FEB. 20 IN THE 8:00 AM ET HOUR. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 8: CBS This Morning Co-Hosts Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King, John Dickerson, and Bianna Golodryga interview Boston Marathon bombing survivor, Adrianne Haslet LIVE. Pictured L to R: Norah O'Donnell, and Adrianne Haslet. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Journalist Norah O'Donnell attends the 28th Annual Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Awards at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on October 29, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Co-host Norah O'Donnell speaks onstage during the International Women's Media Foundation's 2018 Courage in Journalism Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for International Women's Media Foundation)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 3: Bianna Golodryga (shown here at far right) joins, from left, John Dickerson, Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell as co-host of 'CBS This Morning.' (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Norah O'Donnell attends the Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Norah O'Donnell speaks onstage at The Gracies, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Alliance For Women In Media Foundation)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Norah ODonnell and Hoda Kotb attend the 2018 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Norah O'Donnell attends the 2018 The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People In Media at The Pool on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Norah O'Donnell attends the 'America Inside Out' New York Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on April 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 9: CBS THIS MORNING CO-HOSTS Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King, and John Dickerson. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 17: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Norah O'Donnell during Friday's November 17, 2017 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Norah O'Donnell attends The Paley Center for Media Presents: The News is Back: CBS This Morning And The Morning Landscape at The Paley Center for Media on November 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: Television and print journalist Norah O'Donnell attends 'Rolling Stone Stories From The Edge' world premiere at Florence Gould Hall on October 30, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Norah O'Donnell attends The International Women's Media Foundation's 28th Annual Courage In Journalism Awards Ceremony - Arrivals at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 18, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for IWMF)
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