NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- CBS News President Andrew Heyward is leaving the company, and will be replaced by Sean McManus, currently president of CBS Sports.
|CBS News President Andrew Heyward's last day at the network is Nov. 7.
Heyward earlier today wrote to the staff: "As for my own plans, 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."
Mr. Heyward is the second broadcast network news president to exit in the last few weeks. NBC said goodbye to Neal Shapiro, who departed Sept. 9. NBC has not named a replacement for that vacancy.
While some might raise eyebrows at CBS appointing a sports guy to the top news job, the move is not without precedent. Roone Arledge, who built ABC into a sports powerhouse, also took over the struggling ABC News division in 1977.
Mr. McManus has had a long history in sports TV, working at three of the four major broadcast networks. He began his career at ABC Sports in 1977 as a production assistant and associate producer. He jumped to NBC Sports in 1979 as an associate producer for, among other things, the National Football League, Wimbledon and the PGA Tour. In 1982 he was named the youngest VP in the history of NBC when he was named VP-program planning and development for NBC Sports.
After a brief stint as senior VP-U.S. TV sales and programming for TWI, the sports programming division of the International Management Group, Mr. McManus joined CBS and was named president of CBS Sports in 1996.
NFL, NCAA deals
He was instrumental in not only re-gaining the rights to the NFL for the network in 1998, but in the next year he led the negotiations in the landmark agreement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association that netted CBS exclusive rights to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The 11-year, $6 billion deal included rights pertaining to the Internet, marketing and corporate sponsorship, merchandising, licensing, cable TV, radio, satellite, digital and home video. He also led talks to partner with CBS SportsLine and AOL to gain exclusive Web rights to NFL.com and Super Bowl.com.
According to a statement, Mr. McManus will spend the majority of his time at CBS News for the foreseeable future. CBS Chairman and Viacom Co-President Les Moonves, soon to become CEO of his own half of the Viacom empire, has been trying to retool the news division and come up with a new formula for the CBS Evening News.
Division under fire
Most recently the news division came under fire following an inquiry into news gathering practices surrounding a 60 Minutes II segment. The piece called into question President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. The inquiry resulted in the ouster of numerous senior news executives and in the early retirement of veteran anchorman Dan Rather.
In a prepared statement, Mr. McManus said: "The business is changing and the challenges are many. I'm confident that, while maintaining the standards and values of this great organization, we can build upon its legacy and become even more successful, competitive and relevant to the viewers."
Mr. Moonves added: "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."
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Rich Thomaselli contributed to this report.