CBS News Sunday Morning

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CBS News Sunday Morning
Logo used since 1999
Created by Charles Kuralt
Robert Northshield
Directed by Ken Sable (1979–99)
William M. Brady (1999–2011)
Nora Gerard (2011–present)
Presented by Charles Kuralt (1979–94)
Charles Osgood (1994–present)
Anthony Mason (substitute)
Theme music composer Gottfried Reiche
Opening theme Abblasen
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 35
Executive producer(s) Robert Northshield
Linda Mason
Missie Rennie (1979–99)
Rand Morrison (1999–present)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 90 minutes
Production company(s) CBS News Productions
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run January 28, 1979 (1979-01-28) – present
External links

CBS News Sunday Morning is an American television newsmagazine program created by Robert Northshield and original host Charles Kuralt. The program has aired continuously since January 28, 1979, on CBS, and airs Sundays from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Eastern and Pacific (8:00 to 9:30 a.m. Central and Mountain). The current host of the show is Charles Osgood, who took over duties from Kuralt upon his retirement on April 3, 1994, and has since surpassed Kuralt's tenure as host.


The program was originally conceived to be a broadcast version of a Sunday newspaper magazine supplement, most typified by the Sunday New York Times Magazine. The format was conceived as the Sunday equivalent of the CBS Morning News, which following Sunday Morning '​s debut was retitled to reflect each day of the week, such as Monday Morning, Tuesday Morning, etc.

The weekday broadcasts, which emphasized hard news as opposed to Sunday Morning '​s focus on features, were originally anchored by Bob Schieffer[1] (Kuralt eventually took over the daily role, and was for a short time joined by Diane Sawyer as co-host). However, the weekday program's then-limited 7 to 8 a.m. ET air time (the long-running Captain Kangaroo was entrenched in the 8 o'clock hour) hampered its ability to compete with NBC's and ABC's rival two-hour morning shows, though it expanded to 90 minutes in 1981 and was renamed simply Morning. It currently airs from 7 to 8:30 am PT. In 1982, the weekday version was extended to a full two hours and resumed its old title, CBS Morning News. The Sunday version, however, survived, and remains in its original form. Long after the daily editions ended, the Sunday edition's opening sequence continued to display all seven days of the week until the early 2000s. The CBS weekday program is now known as CBS This Morning. On May 17, 2009, CBS News Sunday Morning began broadcasting in high-definition.

As of 2014, the show can be seen during the week on Smithsonian Channel.


The program won its first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program in 2013, beating out weekday programs Today and Good Morning America. It also won a Peabody Award in 2007 for "The Way Home."[2]

TV ratings[edit]

  • On November 24, 2013, the show experienced its highest rating numbers since February 4, 1996, when the program presented its special food themed edition; over 6.25 million viewers tuned in to this edition.[3]
  • February 9, 2014: 6.12 million viewers; the broadcast featured Tracy Smith’s look at the history of Olympic athletes using the games as a platform for political statements; Lee Cowan’s profile of Academy Award nominee Matthew McConaughey; Mo Rocca’s story about the power of Touch; Mark Strassmann’s interview with country music star Eric Church; and Allen Pizzey’s interview with artist and musician Klaus Voormann about his friendship with The Beatles during their formative days in Hamburg, Germany, where they developed their trademark mop-top look. [1]
  • January 4, 2015: 6.28 million viewers [2]; the broadcast featured Jennifer Aniston; Mo Rocca’s visit to President Theodore Roosevelt’s North Dakota retreat; Debora Patta, Elizabeth Palmer, Lucy Craft and Wyatt Andrews’ look at what 2015 may hold for regions around the globe; Jeff Kinney; behind the scenes at the touring production of “Pippin”; and a report on a basketball team with a long losing streak.
  • January 18, 2015: 6.79 million viewers (largest audience since January 23, 1994); the broadcast featured a report on how a photographer’s efforts to capture images of a rare snub-nosed monkey led to the birth of an environmental movement in China; profile of Steve Harvey; interview with Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin; look into the world of stamp collecting; Nancy Giles’ opinion on long cash register receipts; visit to a doll hospital; and a report on a high school janitor popular with students.[3]


Each episode begins with a short summary of national and world headlines, sports and a national weather forecast – which unlike most morning news programs does not allow a cue to affiliates to run a local weather insert. It then follows a story totem pole in the center of the CBS soundstage. Each story covered in a given episode has a glass plate with its headline on this pole, which the camera follows after Osgood's introductions. Music in the show is usually limited to the opening and closing title theme. Osgood introduces each story with a short monologue, then sends the show out to the pre-taped segment. The show usually ends with Osgood tossing to Washington D.C. to check in on Bob Schieffer who tells the viewers what is coming up on Face the Nation (which follows the program on most CBS stations) followed by a preview of next week's show. After the commercial break, there is a 60-second tranquil nature scene. After that, a subtle plug is delivered by Osgood for his weekday The Osgood File radio commentaries for CBS Radio News, with the closing "Until then, I'll see you on the radio."

The program follows a format similar to a Sunday newspaper, but presented in a television show. Notably, Sunday Morning includes significant coverage of the fine and performing arts, including coverage of topics usually not covered in network news, such as architecture, painting, ballet, opera, and classical music, though increasingly more popular forms of music have been included as well. The program correspondents tend to ask nontraditional questions of guests; for instance, actor Brad Pitt was asked about his love of architecture, and Grant Hill about his painting collection. Television essays similar to the kinds delivered on PBS also appear, and the program generally has a stable of equally positive and negative news stories to fill up the program when there is no breaking news of note. Story lengths are longer and the pace of the program is considerably quieter and more relaxed than the weekday CBS This Morning. Commentators Ben Stein and Nancy Giles appear in recurring segments, delivering their opinion, and correspondent Bill Geist also contributes human interest stories. Stories can last up to twelve minutes at a time.[4][5] The program ends with a nature scene, not given a formal title for most of the program's history, but since entitled "Moment of Nature" as it is now a sponsored element.

Despite the stereotype of the program appealing primarily to senior citizens,[6] the show actually placed first among its time slot in the key 25–54 demographic, beating all of the other Sunday morning talk shows.[7][8]

On one occasion, the entire program served as a showcase for classical music. This took place in April 1986, when a live broadcast of Vladimir Horowitz's historic Moscow piano recital was aired. For that presentation only, the program departed from its usual newsmagazine format and devoted the entire 90 minutes to a complete presentation of the recital. Because the recital was given at 4:00 p.m. Moscow time, CBS was able to broadcast it at 9:00 a.m. ET. The presentation was such a critical and popular success that it was repeated two months later, and was subsequently released on VHS and DVD.


The program is marked by its distinctive "Sun" logo. In addition, in between some segments images of the sun in various forms also appear. The show's theme is the trumpet fanfare "Abblasen", attributed to Gottfried Reiche. A recording of the piece on a baroque trumpet by Don Smithers was used as the show's theme for many years, until producers decided to replace the vinyl recording with a digital of a piccolo trumpet by former Tonight Show musical director Doc Severinsen. The current version is played by Wynton Marsalis.[9]


On January 25, 2004, CBS News celebrated the 25th anniversary of Sunday Morning with clips and highlights from the show's first quarter-century. Host Charles Osgood showed clips from former host Charles Kuralt.

The February 1, 2009 show celebrated Sunday Morning '​s 30th anniversary. Segments examined how the world has changed in three decades, the history of Sundays in America and – as a tie-in to the show's logo – the physics of the sun. An artist was commissioned to create new sun logos for the program, which debuted on the February 1 edition and were used in future broadcasts. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman periodically revisits some of Charles Kuralt's memorable personal profiles.


Former correspondents[edit]


  1. ^ "CBS rebuilding morning news show". Broadcasting. December 4, 1978. pp. 49–52. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ 67th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2008.
  3. ^
  4. ^ DAVID BAUDER of The Associated Press (2005-03-24). "CBS Sunday Morning sticks to tradition". Columbia Daily News. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  5. ^ Richard Corliss (2004-02-13). "That Old Feeing:Sunday Morning going strong". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  6. ^ Joel Keller (2006-04-07). "Does anyone under 40 watch CBS Sunday Morning ... besides me?". Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  7. ^ Jon Friedman (2006-04-07). "CBS' 'Sunday Morning' stands apart". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  8. ^ "CBS Sunday Morning" Celebrated Its 30th Anniversary By Once Again Ranking As The #1 Sunday Morning News Program In All Key Demos, CBS Press Release
  9. ^ "About CBS News Sunday Morning". CBS. 1998-07-09. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 

External links[edit]