“CBS This Morning” is shaking up its co-host lineup with the hiring of NFL analyst Nate Burleson.
CBS News is expected to announce Wednesday that Burleson is joining the morning show’s table alongside current co-hosts Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil starting next month when the program moves to its new studio in New York’s Times Square.
Burleson, a former NFL wide receiver, will replace CBS News veteran Anthony Mason, who becomes a culture correspondent reporting across the network’s programs and digital platforms. Mason, who joined the network in 1986, is known for his coverage of music and art, and will continue to appear on “CBS This Morning” in his new role.
The moves are the first major on-air personnel decisions by Neeraj Khemlani, who was named co-head of the division in May, succeeding Susan Zirinsky.
Burleson, 39, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, is a studio analyst on “NFL Today,” the CBS Sports pregame show during football season. He is also co-host on the daily NFL Network program “Good Morning Football,” and a New York correspondent for the syndicated entertainment news program “Extra.”
Burleson will leave “Extra,” but will remain in his role at CBS Sports and become a contributor at the NFL Network.
Burleson first gained the attention of CBS News in June, when “CBS This Morning” used several guest hosts while Dokoupil was on paternity leave. His high-energy performances impressed the program’s executive producer, Shawna Thomas, leading to discussions about him joining on a full-time basis.
Burleson also earned positive reviews for his work as color analyst for the Nickelodeon telecast of an NFL Wild Card game between the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears in January.
Burleson will be the second retired NFL player to become a network morning show co-host. Former New York Giants star Michael Strahan has been a part of ABC’s “Good Morning America” since 2014. Strahan left the syndicated “Live with Kelly and Michael” to join “GMA” full time in 2016.
While CBS has tended to stick to morning co-hosts with news backgrounds, Burleson will not be the first non-journalist in the role. Actress Mariette Hartley briefly served as a morning co-host for the network in 1987. Susan Molinari, a former member of Congress with no TV experience, got the job in 1997 and lasted nine months.
“CBS This Morning” became the network’s most successful attempt at morning television when it gained viewers in the first five years after its 2012 launch. But it has seen its ratings slide since Charlie Rose, one of its founding anchors, was fired from the program in Nov. 2017 over allegations of sexual harassment from women who worked on his eponymous talk show that aired for many years on PBS stations and Bloomberg Television.
There has also been an overall decline in traditional TV viewing, which has led to audience erosion for “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” as well as “CBS This Morning.”
While it trails “GMA” and “Today” in the ratings, “CBS This Morning” has been getting accolades for its journalism, most recently on its exclusive interview with Brittany Commisso, the executive assistant for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Commisso alleged that Cuomo groped her while they worked together in the governor’s mansion. Cuomo, who faces allegations from 11 current and former state employees, announced Tuesday that he will step down.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.