Gumbel leaving 'Early Show,' CBS
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Bryant Gumbel said Thursday he is leaving CBS, where he has been anchor of "The Early Show" for two and a half years.
"After more than 17 years of hosting a morning news program, I feel it's time for me to move on and do something else with my life," Gumbel said.
CBS News management said it will work with Gumbel to determine the timing of his departure from the morning program. His contract with CBS expires in May.
"Simply put, Bryant has put us on the map in the morning," CBS News President Andrew Heyward said in a written statement. "While I regret that he will no longer be our man in the morning, I would like to thank Bryant and wish him the best in this next phase of his impressive career."
Gumbel came to the network five years ago, after several years of hosting the "Today" show on NBC. Prior to beginning as host of "The Early Show" in November 1999, Gumbel hosted the CBS newsmagazine, "Public Eye."
Gumbel said he is "naturally disappointed that the show didn't fare better in the ratings," but added, "I am pleased with the quality of the broadcast we created. I remain grateful for the opportunity I had to make CBS a competitive presence in the morning."
Gumbel signed a five-year, $5 million annual contract with CBS in 1997, after more than 25 years with NBC, 15 of them as host of "Today."
CBS spent an estimated $30 million to build a new streetside studio in Manhattan to launch "The Early Show." The network also made the most of its prime-time success with "Survivor," prominently featuring contestants on "The Early Show." Despite these efforts, the CBS morning program never climbed out of third place in the morning news race against "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America."
CBS said "The Early Show" will continue after Gumbel's departure, though the network did not detail its plans for the program.
"As I prepare to begin a new chapter in my personal life," Gumbel said, "it makes sense to me to turn the page on my professional life as well. Morning television has been a wonderful experience for me, but there are other interests that I'm eager to pursue." He offered no details on those other interests.
Gumbel also is host of "Real Sports" on HBO.
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