Stephen M. Silverman
April 04, 2002 01:00 PM

CBS on-air personality Bryant Gumbel on Thursday said he plans to resign as host of his network’s morning program, “The Early Show,” and will be leaving CBS altogether, reports the Associated Press. Gumbel has been with CBS for five years, the past 2 1/2 of which were spent on the third-ranked morning show, for which the network invested $30 million to build a sidewalk studio in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, near Central Park. Still, Gumbel, 53, never repeated the success he enjoyed on competitor NBC’s “Today” show on “The Early Show,” which continues to trail his former program as well as ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the ratings. “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 in a statement. “As I prepare to begin a new chapter in my personal life, it makes sense to me to turn the page on my professional life as well,” he added, leaving a question mark around his future plans. Gumbel also currently hosts “Real Sports” on HBO. (HBO, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner.) In 1997, Gumbel signed a 5-year, $5 million-per-year contract with CBS, which is due to expire in May. CBS told the AP that as of now it doesn’t have an official departure date for Gumbel. Recently, Gumbel went through a messy divorce with his wife of 27 years, June. He is engaged to marry Hilary Quinlan, 42, a former research analyst at Goldman Sachs. On Friday’s “Early Show,” weekend anchor Russ Mitchell sat with cohost Jane Clayson.

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