'CBS This Morning': CBS News veteran says program 'speaks to our DNA'

zap-photo-early-show-hill-king-rose-cbs-420.jpg" ... And whatever the hell that thing on CBS is called."

So says Jeff Goldblum's television-executive character about the morning show from the "eye network" in the 2010 movie comedy "Morning Glory," but a new bid to grab A.M. audiences begins Monday (Jan. 9) with "CBS This Morning." Held over from "The Early Show," Erica Hill will be joined by fellow anchors Charlie Rose and Gayle King, and one CBS News veteran is very ready for the change.

"I think there's such an excitement about it," producer Susan Zirinsky tells Zap2it, "because it is who we are at our core. This speaks to our DNA." Both the executive producer of "48 Hours Mystery" and an update of the classic interview series "Person to Person" that premieres Wednesday, Feb. 8, Zirinsky worked on "CBS Morning News" earlier in a diverse career with the network that dates back some 40 years.

"I say this in all honesty and not to suck up," she adds. "I think [CBS News Chairman] Jeff Fager has taken this division in a direction that is as exciting as any in my history at CBS. And I have been here a very long time. We're in a proud place right now.

"People may have interpreted that we lost our way. For years, we tried to compete in a morning venue that really wasn't who we are. Jeff has launched a mission statement that everybody is now marching to the same drummer. I don't think I've felt this way about a leader at CBS News since the Watergate era."

As the model for the producer played by Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News," Zirinsky was a technical consultant on the James L. Brooks-directed 1987 film, which has been making the HBO and Cinemax rounds lately.

She recalls that "a couple of years ago, Holly invited me to some screening of a movie that she was in. Afterward, there was a little cocktail party, and some guy came up and said, 'Oh, I loved you in "Raising Arizona."'

"He started to list all her credits, and then he said, 'But I really loved that sick, insane, neurotic producer you played.' Holly let him go on and on until he was out of breath, then she turned to me and said to him, 'Well ... meet her.'"
Photo/Video credit: CBS
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