Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Heads at CBS haven't rolled very far

Just because someone's been asked to resign, doesn't mean they'll actually do it.

According to a report in Broadcasting and Cable, CBS Chairman Les Moonves told reporters this morning that the three CBS executives who were asked to resign over the Rathergate scandal -- Senior Vice President Betsy West, 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard, and Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy -- have yet to do so.

Moonves would not comment on what might happen if the three refused to resign, but said that the matter is currently being handled by lawyers.

And in yet another post-mortem article, the publication notes five questions that remain unanswered by the Thornburgh-Boccardi report. This being an insider publication, some of the questions they deem important are perhaps of more interest to those in the industry, such as the question of whether the four execs fired or asked to resign will ever find work in the industry again. Are we really worried about their careers? I'm not.

But the article does have a couple other interesting questions, such as how CBS News President Andrew Heyward was able to keep his job.

As far as Moonves is concerned—and Moonves' opinion is about all that matters on the subject—Heyward “said and did all the right things from his perch. I think the process let him down,” Moonves says. “I don't think that warranted his going.” Moonves, sympathetic to the plight of the any corporate executive, adds, “We all have lieutenants that we trust to be doing things, and you don't know always know whether they're being done.”

Also working in Heyward's favor: his reputation as a loyal soldier, someone who is reliably eager to please his boss. That sort of devotion is known to appeal strongly to Moonves, who—like many leaders—does not exactly surround himself with a lot of footloose executives likely to wander off the corporate reservation.

But it's not clear what the future at CBS holds. 60 Minutes Wednesday survived the National Guard story, but with its anemic ratings, the show is not assured of surviving 2005. And morale at CBS News has hit Black Rock-bottom. Tom Freston, Moonves' co-COO at Viacom, is competing with him to succeed Sumner Redstone atop the company, and Freston just made a move to burnish his credentials by hiring Brad Grey to revitalize Paramount. Moonves could very well answer by targeting CBS News for a shakeup. It's not clear how Andrew Heyward would fit into those plans.

See the rest of the article here.

More: Captain Ed has more here.


At 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "investigation" was a sham. The "firings" are a sham. Dick was hired by Viacom because he would lie to hurt Bush. Viacom lies. B. Boxer lies. Its hard to find honesty.
Rod Stanton


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