CBS anchor Schieffer prepares to sign off
By Paul J. Gough
NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – CBS News veteran Bob
Schieffer wraps his 15-month run in the “CBS Evening News”
anchor chair on Thursday, paving the way for Katie Couric’s
Schieffer recently spoke about Couric’s prospects, his
delayed retirement, a big regret, and his budding career as a
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: HOW DO YOU THINK KATIE’S GOING TO
DO WHEN SHE TAKES OVER THE ANCHOR CHAIR NEXT WEEK?
Bob Schieffer: Katie’s got all the tools. I think she’s
going to do a terrific job. She clearly has an enormous
following. She’s going to bring some people into the tent just
because she’s Katie, and that’s all to the good. It’ll be
interesting to see what happens. . . . I think Katie has a good
chance to make this news program No. 1. Maybe not next week,
but in time.
THR: HAVE YOU GIVEN HER ANY ADVICE?
Schieffer: I really haven’t. I mean, we’ve chatted and all
of that. But it’s like when your kids get to be a certain age.
You have to be there, but you have to be careful not to always
be giving them advice. Katie’s smart, and the people around her
are smart. I want to help in every way possible.
THR: YOU’VE TOLD CBS NEWS AND SPORTS PRESIDENT SEAN MCMANUS
THAT YOU WON’T RETIRE ON YOUR 70TH BIRTHDAY, FEB. 25, LIKE YOU
PREVIOUSLY PLANNED. WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?
Schieffer: Sean McManus asked me to stay until 2008, to the
(presidential) election of 2008. That’s my plan, but when we
worked this out, I told Sean, “If you want me to stay, I want
to stay,” and that’s what I want to do, but on my 70th
birthday, I want to just review the bidding, and he said fine.
So we’ll revisit that. But right now, my plans and Sean
McManus’ plans are for me to be there until 2008.
THR: ARE YOU GOING TO MISS THE JOB ON “EVENING NEWS?”
Schieffer: Yes, I am. It’s been this great adventure. I’ve
done a lot of things and been a lot of places in my life and in
my career, but this may be the No. 1 most unexpected thing that
has ever happened to me and, in some ways, the greatest
adventure I’ve ever been on.
THR: WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Schieffer: Some days we figured out a better way to do
things, and some days we didn’t, but what I am proudest of are
these correspondents we’ve developed and gave a chance and made
a place on the broadcasts: Lara Logan, Lee Cowan, Trish Regan,
Sharon Alfonsi, Byron Pitts. These are the people you’re going
to hear about around here for the next 10 years or so. I feel
very proud of that.
THR: ANY REGRETS?
Schieffer: I really wanted to go to the Middle East for
this war. Basically, because of some misunderstandings, I
didn’t get to go. . . . It was a chance to showcase Lara and
Sharon, and I was certainly happy about that, but from a
personal standpoint, I would have liked to have gone — one
more thing to see. But beyond that, everything about this has
THR: SO YOU’VE COME TO LIKE NEW YORK AFTER SO MANY YEARS IN
Schieffer: It’s a great city; it’s one of the great cities
of the world, and the people here I find to be friendly. I
exercise a lot. I get up at 6 and go for a walk every morning,
and I go through (Central Park), and you come to see the same
people, people out with their dogs. . . . People say New
Yorkers are unfriendly, but I’m not sure I believe that
anymore. They were very welcoming to me. It’s the last city of
distinctive neighborhoods. If you hang out in the
neighborhoods, they get to know you. . . . I’ll always love
Washington because that’s where my kids grew up, but I came to
enjoy New York.
THR: WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR CBS AFTER YOU GO BACK TO
WASHINGTON AND ANCHORING “FACE THE NATION?” WILL YOU WRITE A
Schieffer: I may or may not, probably not if I stay in this
role (on “Face the Nation” and doing commentaries for “CBS
Evening News”). I’ve done work on that book, but I just don’t
think I can do it and write two commentaries a week and do
“Face the Nation” and do analysis for the evening news. I write
one commentary for “Face the Nation” on Sundays, and we’re
going to add another one Wednesdays for the “Evening News.”
THR: AND YOUR MUSICAL CAREER? I’M TOLD THAT CBS NEWS WRITER
JEAN BRATMAN HAS TURNED A HANDFUL OF YOUR SONGS INTO A DEMO
TAPE THAT IS BEING SHOPPED AROUND IN NASHVILLE RIGHT NOW.
Schieffer: I’m really serious about writing songs. They’re
love songs, with a country-bluesy kind of feel. It’s something
I do for fun, like some people like to drive race cars or play
golf. It’s the same way if you play golf, they always say that
golf is like a love affair: It’s no fun if you take it
seriously, and if you take it seriously, it’ll break your
heart. It’s the same way with this. I’m serious about it. It’s
fun. We’ll see what happens, but I’m trying to get someone to