CBS News Sunday Morning

Last updated
CBS News Sunday Morning
Also known asSunday Morning
Genre Newsmagazine
Created by Charles Kuralt
Robert Northshield
Directed byKen Sable
William M. Brady
Nora Gerard
Presented by Charles Kuralt
Charles Osgood
Jane Pauley
Theme music composer Gottfried Reiche
Opening theme"Abblasen"
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons40
Executive producersRobert Northshield
Linda Mason
Missie Rennie
Rand Morrison
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time63 minutes (with commercials)
Production company CBS News
Original network CBS
Original releaseJanuary 28, 1979 (1979-01-28) 
Related shows CBS This Morning
CBS Morning News
External links

CBS News Sunday Morning (also simply titled Sunday Morning) 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.

Contrast with weekday versions of CBS Morning News

The weekday broadcasts, which emphasized hard news as opposed to Sunday Morning's focus on feature stories, 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 7:00 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 a full two hours and restored its previous CBS Morning News title, later to be replaced by short-lived The Morning Program in 1987.


Each edition begins with a short summary of national and international news headlines, sports and a national weather forecast – which unlike most morning news programs, does not cue to affiliates to run a local weather insert (some local stations will still override the national forecast with a local forecast from their own weather department).[ needs update ]

It then 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) being shown prior to the news summary. 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 the guests and topics to air on that week's Face the Nation (which follows the program on most CBS stations), followed by a preview of next week's Sunday Morning broadcast. After the commercial break, there is a 60-second tranquil nature scene.

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 the Monday through Saturday CBS This Morning program. Commentators Ben Stein and Nancy Giles appear in recurring segments, delivering their opinion, and correspondent Bill Geist also contributes human interest stories. [2] [3] 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, [4] 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. [5] [6] The Sunday Morning Experience is a podcast from the younger fan perspective hosted by married couple, Naomi and Jordan Hillyard, about CBS News Sunday Morning.

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.



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. [7]

Notable on-air staff


Substitute Hosts


Notable former on-air staff




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'", 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". [8] 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. [9]

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". [10] 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". [11]

Awards and nominations

Kimberly Dozier and the crew of CBS Sunday Morning-The Way Home at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards Kimberly Dozier and the crew of CBS Sunday Morning-The Way Home at the 67th Annual Peabody Awards.jpg
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." [12]

Nielsen ratings

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. [13]

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. [14]

March 1, 2015: 6.63 million viewers (sixth-largest audience since the 1987 advent of people meters). [15]

March 22, 2020: 6.82 million viewers (largest audience since 1994). [16]

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