Originally planned hiatus
The cable news network had originally planned to put the show on a two-week hiatus, but the it issued a statement today saying, "What matters to us most is that the men and women of NBC Universal have confidence in the values we have set for this company. This is the only decision that makes that possible. Once again, we apologize to the women of the Rutgers basketball team and to our viewers. We deeply regret the pain this incident has caused."
The "Imus" show was one of MSNBC's more high-profile offerings but was a consistent runner-up in the ratings race with CNN in its 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekday timeslot, where it attracted 271,000 household viewers compared to CNN's 374,000.
An NBC News spokeswoman said the advertisers' withdrawal was "in all honesty, not a factor in today's announcement. It really came as a result of numerous conversations with our employees. It was not driven by dollars. It was driven by integrity."
8% of revenue
The show's advertisers -- which include General Motors, Procter & Gamble and Sprint -- collectively account for about 8% of MSNBC's total revenue. The top spender, GM, spent a total of $691,000 on the show in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
CBS Radio, meanwhile, is sticking with its two-week suspension without pay for Mr. Imus, adding in a statement, "During that time, CBS Radio will continue to speak with all concerned parties and monitor the situation closely."