Gumbel’s new co-host, BYU grad Jane Clayson, talks with NewsNet

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Bryant Gumbel once dubbed BYU “Bo Diddley Tech” after its 1984 football championship win. His new co-host, Jane Clayson, is a BYU alumna.

Clayson said as they were introduced, she thought Gumbel needed to be set straight, even if it meant starting off on the wrong foot with her new co-worker.

“It was the first thing we talked about,” Clayson said, who was chosen by CBS Television as Gumbel’s co-host for the network’s new morning show, which will air starting Nov. 1.

“Bryant told me that he and LaVell Edwards kissed and made up a long time ago, and if it’s good enough for LaVell, it’s good enough for me,” Clayson said.

Clayson is set to take a seat as co-host of a national show less than 10 years after graduating from BYU.

“I am incredibly excited and nervous,” Clayson said on a telephone interview from her California home. “I never had a plan to be at the network by this time or that time. I just always tried to work hard and surround myself with good people.”

Clayson is joining CBS after three years as an ABC News correspondent in Los Angeles. Before ABC, Clayson worked for KSL-TV in Salt Lake City.

“The past few years have been so exciting. One of the highlights has to be when I was in Macedonia during the NATO strikes. It was terrific,” Clayson said.

The journalist also covered the O.J. Simpson civil trial, the fall of the Suharto government, and the birth of the McCaughey septuplets in Iowa for ABC.

Thomas Griffiths, professor of communications at BYU, said Clayson is the first BYU graduate he is aware of that has become a national news anchor.

Clayson said neither her experience at BYU nor her membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an issue for the people she works with in the television news business.

“If anything, it’s intriguing to people. It gives them someone to ask questions to,” she said.

According to Clayson, her BYU experience provided a solid foundation for her career in the broadcast news industry.

“It gave me an invaluable opportunity to sharpen myself. The spiritual aspect of BYU can not be matched anywhere,” Clayson said.

Even though the career of a journalist is demanding, Clayson said it has not taken a toll on the spiritual foundation from BYU

“I go to church where ever I am. It’s been a great opportunity to see firsthand just how world wide this church is. It truly is a global religion,” Clayson said.

The new CBS anchor said she does not view herself as a new high-profile role model for Latter-day Saints.

“I hope the LDS people will watch, and I hope they all have Nielsen ratings diaries,” Clayson said. “The one thing I’ve learned is just how important it is to have the right priorities and to keep the right perspective. I’m just someone who has tried to work hard and is very excited at the opportunities that have come my way.”

Getting the ideal job as a national anchor is not without some sacrifices and adaptations for Clayson.

“I hope that not much will change. My priorities are where they need to be right now and I hope that family and church will always be at the top of my list,” Clayson said.

After moving to New York City, Clayson said, she will wake up each morning at 3:30 to be in the office by 4:30.

The new CBS morning show, “The Early Show,” will be broadcast from a massive new street-level studio in the General Motors Building in Manhattan, N.Y.

The network is investing millions of dollars in the new television program in an effort to compete with NBC’s Today show.

“The talent they have brought on shows an incredible commitment. A former Today show producer will be running the program,” said Clayson.

Although her selection is an obvious compliment to her talent, Clayson downplayed the pressure of being chosen as Bryant Gumbel’s co-host on the new program.

“They labeled the search for Bryant’s partner as ~~`Operation Glass Slipper.’ I’m delighted to be chosen as Cinderella, but I’ll need running shoes instead of a glass slipper to keep up with Bryant,” said Clayson.

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