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New York Times Rose's Successor on CBS Is Serious but Can Banter

The journalist John Dickerson is a Washington creature to his core: a presidential historian, repository of political trivia and scion of a glamorous Beltway family whose party guests regularly included Kennedys, Johnsons and Reagans.

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play (New York Times)

Now, Dickerson, who until recently was better known as a political correspondent than as the host of the CBS Sunday show “Face the Nation,” is leaving the capital for a new job in New York: morning TV host.

CBS said on Tuesday that it had chosen Dickerson, 49, to replace Charlie Rose as the third member of the of “CBS This Morning” team, a spot left empty since Rose was fired in November after allegations of sexual harassment. Dickerson is to join the lineup of Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, who have carved a niche as a news-driven morning team.

A genial on-air presence who speaks in a light Virginia accent, Dickerson received praise at “Face the Nation,” which he joined in 2015, for his rigorous, and at times academic, approach.

So how does he feel about shifting to the mornings — that is, banter central?

“It’s banter, but it’s not frivolous,” Dickerson said, affably, in an interview. “I’m totally juiced about doing that for two hours about everything that’s happening in the country.”

If NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” serve up a syrupy breakfast for viewers, “CBS This Morning” is opting for a high-fiber diet.

“They started this six years ago, which is to stay focused on the news, focus on what’s important, with as much original reporting as they can jam into a broadcast,” Dickerson said, adding, “I feel like I’m not just taking a flier.”

David Rhodes, the CBS News president, was asked in an interview whether Dickerson was prepared for a TV genre typically known for its reliance on light chatter.

“I don’t want him to be light,” Rhodes said. “And I don’t want our show to be light. That doesn’t mean that each of them won’t be approachable to the audience. I think each of them is and can be. But we’re not hiring him for this program to be something that he’s not.”

CBS has not yet chosen his successor for "Face the Nation." Likely contenders include Major Garrett, CBS’ chief White House correspondent, and two of the network’s Washington reporters, Margaret Brennan and Nancy Cordes.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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