The cable news network said Tuesday that it has kept Gupta from reporting on health care policy and other matters involving the incoming Obama administration since learning he was under consideration for the post.
Gupta hosts "House Call" on CNN and also is a correspondent for CBS.
The surgeon general typically isn't heavily involved in shaping an administration's policy, but it can be a very effective bully pulpit. Past surgeons general have proved instrumental in battling tobacco and AIDS.
Having a person comfortable on television could perhaps elevate the now relatively obscure position, and be helpful for Obama, who is personally very health conscious.