Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell reckon with aftermath of ‘train wreck’ debate  02/27/2020 03:04:27   Sara Nathan and Emily Smith

Following their dismal debate performance, a tense Gayle King and Norah ODonnell were left to face the music.

The pair presided over a shambolic Democratic debate on CBS Wednesday night that multiple TV insiders described as a train wreck.

ODonnell, with a palpable sense of relief, announced that the debate was over at 10 p.m. But King, her co-moderator, immediately jumped in: Time for one more break, Norah. Time flies when youre having fun! ODonnell looked surprised. The moderators reappeared following the break, only to say that the show was over.

A TV source inside the Charleston, SC, venue told us the pair, who were once co-anchors on CBS This Morning, left the Gaillard Center on tense terms following the broadcast, although other insiders deny this, saying they later got together with the crew for drinks.

A source said, There has been a lot of finger-pointing going on. There were issues with the teleprompter and the cues. Another said, It was a glimpse into the dynamic between Gayle and Norah. A third source added, This debate really got out of control because there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Everybody had their own producers. It was a total train wreck with too many egos. Nobody was in full control.

One source added that CBS News president Susan Zirinsky held a call with the news division and said they should all be proud of their work on the debate, and that it was the candidates who were really fired up. Another debate source also blamed the candidates, saying, Tom Perez at the DNC has to rein in the candidates. It was a disgrace. It was like Saturday Night Live on steroids.

Meanwhile, TV pros watched the debate in disbelief. Meghan McCain weighed in on Twitter: These moderators need to get this under control. This is way worse than any bad day @TheView hot topics table. At least Whoopi has the bell. Mika Brzezinski tweeted: Does CBS have a buzzer or something to organize this??? Whats going on? CBS reps didnt comment.

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