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McManus to Add CBS News to Portfolio as Heyward’s Successor

Oct 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Andrew Heyward is leaving CBS News after almost a decade as its president and a quarter-century in its ranks, and CBS Sports President Sean McManus will assume the additional title of CBS News president, effective Nov. 7.

The announcement came Wednesday from Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS and co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom.

Mr. Heyward, who has been under pressure for months to spiff up the “CBS Evening News,” said in an e-mail to CBS News staffers: “I do not intend to ‘pursue other interests’ or even ‘spend more time with my family,’ wonderful as it is. I am going to remain fully engaged in the media business. My goal is to explore that frontier just over the horizon where journalism, technology, and the needs of a new generation intersect in exciting and important ways.”

He will remain available through the end of the year to consult with Mr. McManus on the transition. “I have every confidence that CBS News will thrive in the coming years, thanks to the extraordinarily talented and dedicated men and women who work here,” Mr. Heyward wrote in his e-mail. “My colleagues at CBS have enriched my life beyond measure, through challenging times and triumphs alike.”

Mr. McManus will have an office at the Black Rock CBS headquarters and at the CBS Broadcast Center that houses CBS News. He is expected to spend the majority of his time for the foreseeable future at CBS News.

“Sean McManus is a superb executive, a great leader and a fierce competitor whose pedigree for excellence in live-event programming is well-known,” Mr. Moonves said. “Under his leadership, CBS Sports has moved over the past decade into the No. 1 position in its field, and the quality of what we put on the air is the very best in the business. I believe Sean’s background has prepared him well for the significant tasks that face us at CBS News, and I am very pleased that we have such a brilliant executive within our management team who can take on this crucial role.”

Mr. Moonves also praised Mr. Heyward’s work. “Andrew is a man of great character, whose integrity and experience has guided our News division through a time of tremendous change in our industry,” he said. “I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment to the core values of journalism, and for his years of creativity, dedication and loyalty to this company. I wish him only the best and look forward with anticipation to what I’m sure will be an important next phase in an already-distinguished career. “

Mr. McManus’s new appointment draws comparisons with Roone Arledge, who simultaneously led ABC Sports and ABC News through both divisions’ most heady years. The late Mr. Arledge was the boss of Mr. McManus’ father, Jim McKay, the ABC sportscaster who did some particularly memorable reporting on the Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Mr. McManus has been president of CBS Sports since 1996, regaining an NFL package lost during the network’s decline under Larry Tisch, rebuilding the division into a year-round power.

During Mr. Heyward’s tenure, CBS News received 57 news and documentary Emmys, 13 Peabody Awards, 13 Alfred I. duPont/Columbia University Awards, six Overseas Press Club and 46 RTNDA/Edward R. Murrow awards. The Murrow awards include seven for overall excellence: four for television — including the past three, awarded in 2003, 2004 and 2005 — and three for CBS Radio.

Most would agree that Mr. Heyward will turn over to Mr. McManus a news machine that is working and that has even taken a big technological step forward with the relaunch this year of cbsnews.com as a platform for breaking news, blogs and opinion.