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CBS Affiliates Focus on News and Sports

May 28, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The shorter-is-better dynamic that drove the recent network upfront presentations in New York also will lend a freshness to the annual gathering of the CBS network’s executives and affiliates Wednesday and Thursday at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
CBS News and Sports information in particular will be new to the 450-plus attendees this time out, because those topics were omitted from this year’s upfront pitch to Madison Avenue.
There will be an announcement about summer plans for “The Early Show” and discussions of the continuing transition at “60 Minutes,” the state of “The CBS Evening News” and plans for further promotional affiliate visits by “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric.
Ms. Couric’s nine-month reign has included a further slide into third place, but CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said last week that if affiliates are concerned about the newscast’s performance, “They certainly haven’t told me about it.
“They, being in the news business, understand how long these things take. We are where we’ve been for 12 years now. They’re not going to like being No. 3, but they’ve been very supportive, with a lot of them going seamless into the `Evening News’ and promoting it a lot. They’re not being impatient. I’ve heard nothing from any affiliate at all about disappointment in the numbers. They like the show now. I’ve heard a lot of positive comment about the show. They understand if it took [former `NBC Nightly News’ anchor Tom] Brokaw 13 years, it could take us a couple of years to get it done.”
The affiliates will get their first taste of the 2007 fall lineup, including a screening of the pilots for the comedy “Big Bang Theory” and “Viva Laughlin,” the offbeat Hugh Jackman drama with musical moments.
After a day and a half of briefings on promotional, regulatory and digital issues and closed-door business sessions for the network and the affiliates, the convention will conclude with a state-of-the-corporation speech by CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves.

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