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The Baton Passes at CBS News

Well, the rumor that CBS chairman Les Moonves was going to replace CBS News President Andrew Heyward with the head of MTV Entertainment is now officially wrong.
The Tiffany Network today announced that CBS Sports President Sean McManus is taking the job. Release below:

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SEAN MCMANUS NAMED PRESIDENT OF CBS NEWS;

WILL RETAIN PRESIDENCY OF CBS SPORTS



Sean McManus, who has served as President of CBS Sports since 1996, has been named President of CBS News and Sports, it was announced today by Leslie Moonves, Chairman of CBS and Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Viacom. The appointment is effective November

McManus succeeds Andrew Heyward, who will assist in the transition and depart CBS at the end of the year, when his current contract expires.

In addition to his new role as President of CBS News, McManus will continue to serve as President of CBS Sports, which he has transformed into the Number One broadcast organization of its kind in the industry. McManus, who will continue to be based in New York, will keep offices at the headquarters of both CBS Sports and CBS News, although he will spend the majority of his time at CBS News for the foreseeable future.

"Sean McManus is a superb executive, a great leader and a fierce competitor whose pedigree for excellence in live-event programming is well-known," said Moonves. "Under his leadership, CBS Sports has moved over the past decade into the Number One position in its field, and the quality of what we put on the air is the very best in the business. I believe Sean's background has prepared him well for the significant tasks that face us at CBS News, and I am very pleased that we have such a brilliant executive within our management team who can take on this crucial role."

"I'm very excited about the opportunities that lie head," said McManus. "CBS News is a truly great institution, and its people have defined excellence in broadcast journalism since the beginning of the medium. 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 and the nation we serve."

Heyward, who has held the post of President of CBS News for almost 10 years, will serve as an advisor to the CBS News Division and assist McManus in the transition.

"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," said Moonves. "I want to thank him for his unwavering commitment to the core values of journalism, and for his years of creativity, dedication and loyalty to this company. I wish him only the best and look forward with anticipation to what I'm sure will be an important next phase in an already-distinguished career."

"I've worked at CBS News for more than 24 years, as a field producer, broadcast producer, executive producer and president," said Heyward. "The last quarter-century has been a time of seismic change in the broadcast-journalism landscape, and it's been my privilege to play a role in steering CBS News across that shifting terrain. My colleagues at CBS have enriched my life beyond measure, through challenging times and triumphs alike."

McManus was named President, CBS Sports, in November 1996. During his tenure as President of the Division, CBS Sports has become the year-round leader in sports television.

McManus began his career in 1977 at ABC Sports, where he was a production assistant and associate producer. He joined NBC Sports in 1979 as an associate producer assigned to the NFL, Wimbledon, the PGA TOUR, "Sportsworld," auto racing and the Tour de France. In 1982, McManus became the youngest vice president in the history of NBC. As Vice President, Program Planning and Development at NBC Sports through 1987, McManus was responsible for all programming and was instrumental in the rights negotiations for the Olympics, the NFL, Wimbledon, the Breeders' Cup, the Orange Bowl, auto racing and NCAA college basketball.

After NBC, McManus joined Trans World International, the television division of International Management Group, the largest sports marketing firm in the world, as Senior Vice President of U.S. Television Sales and Programming. From that point, he joined CBS in 1996.
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I'm not sure why McManus won't be giving up the presidency of CBS Sports. But the conventional wisdom is that Heyward's days were numbered after the ill-fated
60 Minutes Wednesday report on George Bush's military history. (Remember, it wasn't the show's conclusion that Bush received preferential treatment that really created the problem, it was the information it used to get there.) In any event, 10 years is a long time for someone to remain atop a network news division.

McManus will have his work cut out for him figuring out both a permanent successor to Dan Rather and a way to get the CBS Evening News out of third place. If any network is going use the transition at the anchor desk to dramatically change the nature of its newscast, it will be CBS.
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