When Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell learned Face the Nation‘s John Dickerson would be succeeding Charlie Rose as their coanchor on CBS This Morning, they could not believe the replacement was so close to home.
“The fact that our reputation is original reporting and storytelling, and then we have John, who also does original reporting and storytelling, to me, it just seems like such a good fit that was really right here all the time,” King, 63, tells PEOPLE.
The trio is teaming up again after anchoring the final presidential debate of 2016. “This is a new beginning for our show, but with an old friend,” O’Donnell says. “We have a shared curiosity. We care deeply about people and we care deeply about the news. That has always been the centerpiece of that table.”
Tuesday’s announcement that Dickerson, 49, would be joining CBS This Morning follows the firing of Rose after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in November.
Dickerson joins the show on King and O’Donnell’s sixth anniversary of anchoring the two-hour news program. “This just adds to the integrity and the foundation this show has had to have someone of John’s caliber join the show,” O’Donnell, 43, continues. “And I feel really strongly about that. Our show stands out in having top rate journalism and there’s an honor that goes along with that. That’s going to get stronger because John’s joining the show.
Before landing the job, which he started Wednesday morning, Dickerson filled in with King and O’Donnell for a week in December and says the success of that period made his decision to join the show an easy one.
“That collaborative sense of the moment — it’s live and we’re all asking questions. We’re all playing off each other and being a part of that. It’s improvisational,” the Whistlestop author says. “It’s a blast and that’s obviously not what I do when I’m sitting just by myself.”
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O’Donnell also believes she felt the magic during that five-day streak in December. “When he was here for that week, it was seamless and easy,” she says. “And that’s the secret sauce for our show.”
The father of two will host Face the Nation one more time on Sunday and make the move from D.C. to New York City with his family. “That’s a big step,” King says of his relocation. “That says to me he’s really committed.”
And while she can’t predict the future of the show, the O editor-at-large sees success ahead for the new triumvirate. “It’s hard to say what it’s going to be because we don’t even know,” King says. “But what I know is, I know it’s going to be good.”
CBS This Morning airs weekdays at 7 a.m.. E.T.