David Rhodes will step down as president of CBS News amid falling ratings and the fallout from revelations from an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against CBS News figures, Rhodes and the CBS network said Sunday night.
Rhodes, 46, will be succeeded in March by Susan Zirinsky, a senior executive producer who has run the newsmagazine "48 Hours" for more than 20 years, the network said.
Zirinsky, 66, will be the first woman to head CBS' news division and only the second to lead any of the broadcast news divisions, following Deborah Turness, who was president of NBC News from 2013 to 2017.
NBC News reported last month that Rhodes was unlikely to be re-appointed to the position when his contract expires early this year. Viewership for CBS News' coverage of the midterm elections trailed those of its broadcast and cable competition, and ratings for its morning show and evening news program have languished.
As president of the news division, it was Rhodes who fired Charlie Rose as co-anchor of "CBS This Morning" in November 2017 over allegations that eventually led the network to settle a lawsuit over Rose's conduct.
Zirinsky, who joined CBS News in 1972, was the inspiration for Holly Hunter's harried producer in the 1987 movie "Broadcast News," for which she was the technical adviser and an associate producer.
In her 46-year career, Zirinsky led the network's coverage of the first Gulf War and of protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989.
Rhodes said on Twitter that the change would take place on March 1. He said he would continue at the network as a senior adviser.
"No broadcast news producer is more highly respected and admired than Susan Zirinsky," Joe Ianniello, president and acting chief executive of CBS Corp., said in a statement.
Zirinsky said: "This may be a new role, but the mission is the same: deliver quality, in-depth journalism and engaging storytelling. CBS News has an incredible legacy to build on."