CBS News chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes was first up in the informal competition to replace John Dickerson as the next host of the Sunday morning show Face the Nation. Dickerson signed off as the show’s full-time host on Jan. 21 and has joined the cast of the news-heavy morning show CBS This Morning, filling the seat once occupied by Charlie Rose.
Cordes, who has been with the network since 2007, hosted the show on Sunday to positive reviews. “Terrific @FaceTheNation today with @nancycordes looking so at ease in that chair,” CNN’s Dana Bash wrote on Twitter. CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford said she “really enjoyed” the broadcast and told Cordes, “well done!”
Next up is White House correspondent Margaret Brennan, who will host next Sunday’s show, a spokesperson for the network told The Hollywood Reporter.
A network source said the “smart money” is on Cordes or chief White House correspondent Major Garrett as Dickerson’s permanent replacement. A veteran of Fox News, Garrett joined CBS News in 2012 and is a regular questioner during Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ highly entertaining press briefings.
“I think the interesting choice is whether to go with a woman in a program that runs more to a male audience,” a former CBS News executive said.
CBS News isn’t saying anything about the timeline to pick a new host, and it’s not clear how many correspondents will take a turn hosting the show before a new host is selected.
Cordes‘ tryout Sunday brought in 3.28 million viewers, down from Dickerson’s last episode as the show’s full-time host (Jan. 21), which attracted 3.71 million viewers. For the broadcast “season” (September to the present), Face the Nation is neck-and-neck with Meet the Press, though the latter show has an eight-week-long winning streak in the key 25-to-54 demo.
Dickerson said in his last full-time broadcast that “maybe” he’ll return as a fill-in host for Face the Nation. (The CBS News spokesperson did not respond to a question about Dickerson returning.)
“I have had the privilege for the last two and a half years of meeting you here for an hour each Sunday,” Dickerson said in signing off. “To all of you out there: thank you for your trust, your loyalty and your generosity.”