Susan Zirinsky has served as executive producer of 48 Hours since July 1996. In addition, she serves as an executive producer of special projects for CBS both news and entertainment.
Recently, Zirinsky was one of the executive producers of In God’s Name, a CBS primetime special produced in association with the acclaimed French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, which explored the complex questions of our time through the intimate thoughts and beliefs of 12 of the world's most influential spiritual leaders. Additionally, Zirinsky was executive producer of the critically acclaimed documentary Flashpoint in May 2007. It told the story of one bomb, three journalists and the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. In addition, Zirinsky was the executive producer of “Celebrating Cronkite at 90, That’s The Way It Is, a CBS special celebrating the life of Walter Cronkite.
In May 2006, Zirinsky was executive producer of “Three Days in September”, for Showtime, which documented the story of a school taken hostage in Beslan, Russia. The Emmy-nominated film was narrated by Julia Roberts and featured at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. Zirinsky was an executive producer of CBS' broadcast, 9/11, the first collaboration with filmmakers the Naudets, which won an Emmy, a George Foster Peabody Award and the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence. Zirinsky has also served as executive producer of several specials for CBS Entertainment, including “Elvis by the Presley’s” and two specials for Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model”. Also in 2006, Zirinsky was executive producer of a new web series for CBS Entertainment called Countdown, a new form of docudrama produced exclusively for the Internet that ran weekly as a companion to CBS’s Entertainment series “Jericho”.
Prior to 48 Hours, she was executive producer of campaign '96 (1995-96), managing the daily operations of CBS News' election-year political coverage, and of the primetime CBS News magazine Eye to Eye (1994-95), after having served as the broadcast's senior broadcast producer and senior producer (1993-94).
Zirinsky was the director of CBS News' 1992 political reporting, responsible for coordinating coverage of candidates, issues and events for all CBS News broadcasts, including the presidential election. During that period, she also held the position of senior CBS News senior producer at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, where she oversaw the CBS News and Sports news desk for the network.
Prior to that, Zirinsky served in several capacities for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in New York and Washington, D.C. In New York, she was its senior broadcast producer (1991-92) and senior producer (1989-91). In Washington, she managed all feature stories and oversaw editorial content of daily hard-news events (1986-89). She first joined the CBS EVENING NEWS as a producer, primarily covering the White House during the Carter and Reagan administrations (1979-86).
Zirinsky was technical advisor/associate producer for writer/director James L. Brooks on the film “Broadcast News”, starring Holly Hunter as a Washington network news producer.
She also worked on other CBS News broadcasts, including the CBS Morning News and CBS EVENING NEWS weekend editions, and held a number of other assignments, including floor producer at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions from 1976 through 1988. She was senior producer for both conventions in 1992 and has been an election-night producer since 1976.
Zirinsky's foreign experience is extensive. She traveled overseas with presidents Carter and Reagan and was the lead producer for each of their foreign trips. Her overseas assignments have taken her to Russia, China, Japan, Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In 1989, Zirinsky ran CBS News' operations out of Panama during the United States invasion of that country and was in charge of CBS News’ operation in Beijing during the Division's critically acclaimed coverage of the Tiananmen Square student uprising and military crackdown. Earlier that year, she was lead producer for CBS News' coverage from Japan of Emperor Hirohito's funeral. She was the senior producer responsible for setting up and overseeing the Network's news operation in Kuwait while covering the first Persian Gulf war, and it was under her stewardship that CBS News was the first network to enter Kuwait, just behind the Allied forces.
Zirinsky joined CBS News as a part-time production clerk in 1972. She was graduated cum laude from American University in Washington, D.C. She and her husband live in New York with their daughter.