by Cynthia Littleton, Managing Editor TV,
CBS News has tapped its political director John Dickerson (above) to succeed Bob Schieffer as anchor of “Face the Nation.”
Schieffer announced the appointment at the close of Sunday’s telecast. Dickerson is the son of Nancy Dickerson, the first female correspondent to work in CBS News’ Washington bureau and an associate producer on “Face the Nation” at its inception in 1954.
Dickerson will take over the anchor desk on the Sunday morning public affairs show from Schieffer this summer, just in time to rev up for the 2016 presidential race. Schieffer confirmed his plan to retire after a 46-year career with CBS News.
“John is first and foremost a reporter — and that’s what he’ll be as anchor of ‘Face the Nation’,” said CBS News president David Rhodes. “His work in the studio will always be informed by what he’s learned in Iowa, in New Hampshire, on Capitol Hill—anywhere there’s news. He has earned the respect of newsmakers across the political spectrum. With all our correspondents John will present comprehensive coverage on all our platforms.”
Dickerson has been a regular on “Face the Nation” in recent years. Calling him “my friend,” Schieffer noted he has made 83 appearances on the show “and he sure has the right bloodlines.”
A Washington native, Dickerson joined CBS News in 2009 as an on-air political analyst. He’s been political director since 2011. Before CBS, Dickerson was a reporter for Time magazine and Slate.
“I’m thrilled,” Dickerson said. “I have watched Bob my whole professional life not just as a viewer but as a daily reporter who also covered the Hill. I’m honored to carry on his tradition on ‘Face the Nation.’ ”
Dickerson is also the author of a book about his mother’s pioneering role in TV news, “On Her Trail.” Nancy Dickerson died in 1997.
Schieffer joked in talking with Dickerson about the news on the show that he has now gotten to the point where he’s working with the children of those he started out with on the Washington beat. Dickerson praised Schieffer’s legacy of dogged reporting even when he was holding down anchor gigs on “Face the Nation” and “CBS Evening News.”
“Thank you, Bob, for showing us how it’s done,” Dickerson said.
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Hey, what about Candy Crowley? After her exit from CNN, when she hinted at a next stage in her professional life, I fully expected she’d be tapped for Face the Nation. It’s long past time a woman helmed one of the Sunday political shows. Plus, she’s a vastly more dynamic speaker than John, who comes across as a tad reserved. Probably good news for Meet the Press as Chuck Todd seems a lot more outgoing.