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CBS stunned Madison Avenue when it dismissed four top sales executives who collectively had more than 100 years of experience selling ad time for the network.

"Network TV buying is still very much a relationship business, and [CBS] fired most of their guys who had the relationships," said one top ad agency media buyer.

Gone are Dan Colby, VP-national sales manager; John Brooks, VP-director of sports sales; Mike Guariglia and John O'Sullivan, both VP-director of sales and marketing (see For the Record on Page 56).

"The buyer-seller relationship in network TV sales is a very unique animal," said another agency executive. "I am greatly troubled by this; it's a total disregard for the experience they just let walk out the door."

The action came a month after another popular sales executive, Mike Mandelker, was dismissed at NBC. Mr. Mandelker has since become exec VP-sales for UPN.

"I think the ad community feels the same way we did about Mike's being let go," said one of the buyers who deals with the executives extensively.

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