CBS News Sunday Morning

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CBS News Sunday Morning
Title card, used since 2020
Also known asSunday Morning
Created by
Directed by
  • Ken Sable
  • William M. Brady
  • Nora Gerard
Presented byCharles Kuralt
Charles Osgood
Jane Pauley
Theme music composerGottfried Reiche
Opening theme"Abblasen"
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons40
Executive producers
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time63 minutes (with commercials)
Production companyCBS News
Original networkCBS
Picture formatNTSC (1979–2009)
HDTV 1080i (2009–present)
Original releaseJanuary 28, 1979 (1979-01-28) –
Related showsCBS Mornings
CBS Saturday Morning
CBS Morning News

CBS News Sunday Morning (normally shortened to Sunday Morning on the program itself since 2009) is an American news magazine television program that has aired on CBS since January 28, 1979. Created by Robert Northshield and original host Charles Kuralt, the 90-minute program currently airs Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Eastern, and from 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Pacific. Since October 9, 2016, the show has been hosted by Jane Pauley, who also hosts news segments, after the retirement of Charles Osgood. Osgood was the host for twenty-two years (and is the program's longest-serving host), taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.


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.).

Although an attempt to apply the same format to weekday broadcasts proved unsuccessful, the Sunday survived and retains its original format. 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. On January 25, 2004, CBS News Sunday Morning celebrated its 25th anniversary with clips and highlights from the show's first quarter-century on the air. Host Charles Osgood showed clips from former host Charles Kuralt.

The February 1, 2009, broadcast celebrated Sunday Morning's 30th anniversary. Segments examined how the world has changed in the three decades since the program began, 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 that edition and were used in future broadcasts. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman periodically revisits some of Charles Kuralt's memorable personal profiles. On May 17, 2009, CBS News Sunday Morning began broadcasting in high-definition. In 2014, rebroadcasts of the program began airing on sister cable network Smithsonian Channel (owned by CBS's parent company ViacomCBS), but has since been pulled from that channel's programming.

Charles Kuralt era (1979–1994)[edit]

On January 28, 1979, CBS launched CBS News Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt as host. On October 27, 1980, he was added as host of the weekday broadcasts of CBS' Morning show as well, joined with Diane Sawyer as weekday co-host on September 28, 1981. Kuralt left the weekday broadcasts in March 1982, but continued to anchor the Sunday morning program until April 3, 1994, when he retired after 15 years as host and was succeeded by Charles Osgood.

Charles Osgood era (1994–2016)[edit]

Osgood's first broadcast as host was on April 10, 1994. Ultimately, his tenure of twenty-two years as host exceeded Kuralt's fifteen years. Osgood's final broadcast as host was on September 25, 2016.

Among his personal trademarks were his bow-tie, his weekly TV signoff "Until then, I'll see you on the radio", and his propensity for delivering his commentaries in whimsical verse. Example: When the Census Bureau invented a designation for cohabitant(s) as "Person(s) of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters", or "POSSLQ", Osgood turned it into a pronounceable three-syllable word and composed a prospective love poem that included these lines, which he later used as the title of one of his books:

"There's nothing that I wouldn't do
If you would be my POSSLQ."

Osgood regularly pronounced the 21st-century years 2001, 2002, etc., as "twenty oh one, twenty oh two..." as opposed to the more common "two thousand one, two thousand two", etc.

Jane Pauley era (2016–present)[edit]

In 2014, Pauley appeared as an interview subject on the CBS Sunday Morning; positive audience response to this segment led to Pauley being hired as a contributor to the show later in 2014. She was elevated to the role of the program's host in 2016, succeeding Charles Osgood, once again making her the anchor of a regular morning news program for the first time in over 25 years and becoming her first job as the host of any television program since 2005; she continues in this role as of 2022.[1]

It was announced on September 25, 2016, that Pauley would take over as host of CBS Sunday Morning following the retirement of Charles Osgood. "We first got to know Jane when we did a story about her on Sunday Morning," said Rand Morrison, the show's executive producer, in a statement. "Our viewers immediately responded by suggesting she belonged on Sunday Morning permanently. And – as is so often the case, they were right. She's a dedicated, experienced broadcast journalist. But – every bit as important – she's a delight to work with. A worthy successor – and a perfect fit."[2]

Pauley began her role as host on October 9, 2016, nearly 40 years to the day since her debut on Today.

Relationships with CBS' weekday morning news programs[edit]

As noted, for the first few years of Sunday Morning's run, CBS News' weekday morning broadcasts were similarly branded Monday Morning through Friday Morning respectively, and were produced on the same set. However, these broadcasts emphasized hard news as opposed to Sunday Morning's focus on feature stories. Originally anchored by Bob Schieffer,[3] 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 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. Eastern air time (the long-running Captain Kangaroo was entrenched in the 8:00 a.m. hour) hampered its ability to compete with NBC and ABC's rival two-hour morning shows Today and Good Morning America, though it expanded to 90 minutes (from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time) in 1981 and was renamed simply Morning. In 1982, the weekday version was extended to two hours (7:00 to 9:00 a.m.), and reverted to its previous title as the CBS Morning News, adopting a different set and distinct graphics in the process; by March, Kuralt had been replaced by Bill Kurtis. Meanwhile, Sunday Morning maintained its format and set with Kuralt as host.

For almost all of the next four decades, Sunday Morning and CBS' other morning news programs, under varying names and formats, remained fully separate productions, though with occasional cross-promotion and some sharing of correspondents. On August 31, 2021, the network announced that its weekday morning show would be relaunched for the latest time as CBS Mornings, and its Saturday counterpart as CBS Saturday Morning. Under this latest reformatting, both programs have taken on some branding elements of the Sunday program like its Sun of May-style logo and "Abblasen" fanfare, though in a much more modern studio layout.[4] To date, Sunday Morning itself has not been affected by these changes, apart from some minor graphics updates to accommodate a revised CBS bug, which took effect on the September 12 edition.


Each edition follows a story totem pole in the center of the CBS soundstage, with previews of featured stories set to air during the broadcast (the first four of which feature clips from the story packages with preview narration by the respective correspondent) during the introduction. Each story covered in a given episode has a glass plate with its headline on this pole (digitally inserted on the pole as a prepared graphic since the late 2000s), which the camera follows after Pauley's introductions. Music in the show is usually limited to the opening and closing title theme. Pauley introduces each story with a short monologue, then sends the show out to the taped segment. The show usually ends with a preview of next week's Sunday Morning broadcast. After the commercial break, there is a 30-second tranquil nature scene.[citation needed]

For most of its history, the program was typically presented live, with a short summary of national and international news headlines, sports, and a national weather forecast right after the featured story teasers, and a preview of the guests and topics to air on that week's Face the Nation (which follows the program on most CBS stations) near the end of the program. During the occasional weeks that Sunday Morning aired a pre-taped theme broadcast, the headlines segment would instead be presented live by another anchor.[citation needed] By early 2022, observers noted that Sunday Morning had quietly shifted to a pre-taped format; in the event of a major weekend news story, it may be presented with a generic on-set introduction combined with an off-set voiceover by the host.[5]

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's 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 (lasting up to twelve minutes at a time) and the pace of the program is considerably quieter and more relaxed than CBS Mornings and CBS Saturday Morning, even after those programs began sharing some of Sunday Morning's branding elements. Commentators Ben Stein and Nancy Giles appear in recurring segments, delivering their opinion, and correspondent Bill Geist also contributes human interest stories.[6][7] 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,[8] Sunday Morning actually placed first in its time slot in the key demographic of adults 25–54, beating all of the political discussion-driven Sunday morning talk shows.[9][10]

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. Eastern Time. The presentation was such a critical and popular success that it was repeated two months later, and was subsequently released on VHS and DVD.[citation needed]


  • Cover Story: The main topic of that week's broadcast
  • Almanac: A notable event or the birth or death of a person that happened on the same calendar day of the weekly broadcast
  • Profile: A look at the accomplishments of people
  • Pulse: A look at facts by different sources
  • Passage: A person who died within the past week
  • Calendar: A look at the week ahead
  • Moment of Nature: A look at animals and plants at the end of the weekly broadcast


The program is marked by its distinctive "Sun" logo, which is prominent in the program's title sequence. 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 Doc Severinsen; the current version is played by Wynton Marsalis.[11]

Notable on-air staff[edit]


Jane Pauley (pictured in 2012) has hosted the program since 2016.



Notable former on-air staff[edit]




Neurologist Steven Novella and paranormal investigator Joe Nickell wrote in separate Skeptical Inquirer articles about Erin Moriarty's lack of skepticism and "complete journalistic fail" over her segment on CBS Sunday Morning in March 2018. In her segment she showed clips of spoon-bender Uri Geller from the 1980s performing "'psychic parlor tricks'" but instead of explaining to her audience that Geller had been debunked many times she instead said he was "'unreliable,’" with no mention of the work of James Randi. Novella states of Moriarty "She is (most likely) just an old-school journalist who thinks of paranormal pieces as '"fluff"' pieces that don't require journalistic rigor.” And that this segment could have run "thirty years ago with no change.”[13] In another segment Moriarty interviewed psychic Angela Dellafiora Ford, who claims that she "psychically tracked down fugitive drug smuggler Charlie Jordan in 1989.” Nickell writes that Moriarty "simply takes Ford at her word" and "gushes" over her. Nickell states that Ford's claims are an example of '"retrofitting"' and incorrect.[14]

Center for Inquiry editor Kendrick Frazier wrote of his disappointment that the network of Murrow and Cronkite would air a pro-paranormal segment with Geller and a psychic detective. They also featured parapsychologist Dean Radin calling him a scientist, which he is not. In a tweet the next day in response to criticism, Moriarty wrote '"We reported on government experiments with the paranormal – supported by declassified Govt documents. We gave time to both those involved and scientists."' Frazier responded that "Just because some part of the government initiated a bizarre little research program at some point in the past, that is not itself a validation of the claims it was studying." Further research by CFI timed the segment and "found it more than 97 percent pro-paranormal and only 3 percent skeptical".[15] In a press release, CFI called the CBS Sunday Morning segment a "regrettable lapse ... in the ... usually objective and reliable coverage.” They called on the show to "take steps to correct the record" and to "provide a more truthful and scientifically rigorous view of this topic.”[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Kimberly Dozier and the crew of CBS Sunday Morning "The Way Home" at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards

The program won its first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program in 2013, beating out Today and Good Morning America in the category. It also won a Peabody Award in 2007 for the feature segment "The Way Home."[17]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

The program's special food-themed edition on November 24, 2013, earned Sunday Morning one of its highest ratings since February 4, 1996, watched by over 6.25 million total viewers.[18]

This was surpassed by the January 18, 2015, broadcast, which had a total viewership of 6.79 million viewers, the second largest audience the program earned since January 23, 1994.[19]

March 1, 2015: 6.63 million viewers (sixth-largest audience since the 1987 advent of people meters).[20]

March 22, 2020: 6.82 million viewers (largest audience since 1994).[21]


  1. ^ "Jane Pauley named anchor of CBS News' "Sunday Morning"". September 25, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Jane Pauley Will Succeed Charles Osgood as 'CBS Sunday Morning' Anchor". Variety. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "CBS rebuilding morning news show" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 4, 1978. pp. 49–52. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  4. ^ Steinberg, Brian (August 31, 2021). "CBS News to Launch 'Mornings' in Bid to Capture A.M. Viewers Across The Week". Variety. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
  5. ^ Hill, Michael P. (May 16, 2022). "Networks cover weekend of shootings across the U.S." NewscastStudio. Retrieved July 12, 2022. “CBS Sunday Morning” [...] appeared to be pre-taped, as its [sic] normally is[...] It appears that the network tapes a clip of Pauley on set saying the first part of the sentence, perhaps taped ahead of time in the event of just such breaking news, but then dubbed in the specifics via the rest of the audio
  6. ^ David Bauder (March 24, 2005). "CBS Sunday Morning sticks to tradition". Columbia Daily News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  7. ^ Richard Corliss (February 13, 2004). "That Old Feeing:Sunday Morning going strong". Time. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  8. ^ Joel Keller (April 7, 2006). "Does anyone under 40 watch CBS Sunday Morning ... besides me?". TVSquad. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  9. ^ Jon Friedman (April 7, 2006). "CBS' 'Sunday Morning' stands apart". MarketWatch. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  10. ^ ""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). TV by the Numbers/Tribune Media. February 6, 2009. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2009.
  11. ^ "About CBS News Sunday Morning". CBS. July 9, 1998. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
  12. ^ "Who we are". CBS. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  13. ^ Novella, Steven (2018). "Gullible Reporting about ESP on CBS". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (4): 15–16.
  14. ^ Nickell, Joe (2018). "CBS Sunday Morning Seers Don't See So Well". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (4): 17.
  15. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (2018). "CBS Drops Skepticism in Sunday Morning Paranormal Segment CSI Issues Critical Statement". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 42 (4): 5–7.
  16. ^ Fildago, Paul. "CBS Condemned by Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for 'Sunday Morning' Segment on the Paranormal". CSICOP. Center for Inquiry. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "67th Annual Peabody Awards". Peabody Awards. May 2008.
  18. ^ "'CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood' Posts Its Best November Sweep Viewers Delivery Since the Advent of People Meters in 1987". CBS (Press release). TV by the Numbers/Tribune Media. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013.
  19. ^ "'CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood' Delivers Its Largest Audience Since 1994". CBS (Press release). TV by the Numbers/Tribune Media. January 23, 2015. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015.
  20. ^ "'CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood' Delivers Sixth-Largest Audience Since the 1987 Advent of People Meters". March 5, 2015. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "SKEDBALL: Weekly Sports TV Ratings 3.16-3.22.2020 | Showbuzz Daily". Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.

External links[edit]