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Hartman Named Exec Producer of ‘CBS Evening News’

Nov 29, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Less than a month after Sean McManus became president of CBS News as well as CBS Sports, he named Rome Hartman, a 22-year veteran of the news division and producer for 14 years on “60 Minutes,” the executive producer of “CBS Evening News.”

Mr. Hartman, like the division’s other program executive producers, will report directly to Mr. McManus, who expects to pick his brain on some of the most significant issues involved in rebuilding CBS News. CBS once boasted the most powerful TV news operation but now is the third-place choice of viewers for evening and morning news and during breaking news.

Mr. Hartman, 50, will advise Mr. McManus on organizational issues, deployment of news-gathering resources and the recruiting of talent. Those responsibilities had been assigned to Marcy McGinnis, who recently followed former CBS News President Andrew Heyward out the door.

Jim Murphy, the flagship newscast’s executive producer for six years, an “Evening News” record, has talked to Mr. McManus about other options at CBS News. “Jim came to me a while ago and said that he wanted a new challenge,” Mr. McManus said. “I have tremendous respect for Jim’s talents and his accomplishments as the leader of the broadcast, and he should be very proud of the job he did. Jim and I will continue to discuss his future role at CBS News.”

Mr. Murphy said Tuesday after the announcement that he had been upfront with Mr. McManus that “I don’t think I can do another turn at that ‘Evening News’ dance” and would like “a bigger job” than Mr. McManus may have to offer at this point. “It’s a big world and it is an exciting time in our industry,” Mr. Murphy said.

Mr. Hartman is an award-winning and prolific producer who has worked closely with Lesley Stahl since joining “60 Minutes” in 1991. He joined CBS News in 1983 as a field producer based out of Atlanta. He eventually became the “Evening News” senior producer based in Washington, where his family plans to remain at least until his youngest son graduates from high school in 2007.

He was widely recommended to Mr. McManus as a producer with a great sense of news and a talent for storytelling.

“Twenty minutes into our first discussion, I knew that on many levels we were thinking alike,” Mr. McManus said, stressing that he was in no way seeking a “yes man” to spearhead the revamping of “Evening News,” which CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves has publicly and repeatedly said is long overdue.

Mr. Hartman declined Tuesday to address any specific thoughts he or Mr. McManus might have about “Evening News.”

“I don’t want to presume that I know what to do,” Mr. Hartman said. “I’ve got a lot of ideas. I also have a lot to learn.”