With the coronavirus pandemic pressuring all media companies to tighten belts over lost advertising revenue, CBS News has applied another layer of job cuts. There have been multiple cuts at CBS for months, much of it tied to the network’s merger with Viacom. The pandemic adds another layer of withered finances.
The best guess is that about 10% of the news department was snipped. Other departments including sports, entertainment, and production are also affected. Between 300 and 400 jobs are being slashed.
CBS News president Susan Zirinsky released hazy details during an electronic meeting with employees.
Although CBS claims to be America’s #1 rated network, it’s a reference to prime time programs. The flagship CBS Evening News and breakfast show CBS This Morning are both perennial third place shows behind NBC and ABC shows in the same time slots.
Zirinsky moved Norah O’Donnell from CBS This Morning to anchor the CBS Evening News but the show has slipped to an even more distant last place position.
Zirinsky is a rough-and-tumble leader who does not mince words in staff meetings or when speaking on the record with other media outlets.
Here’s a sample via The Hollywood Reporter:
In other CBS News, former WHAS news director William J. Small has passed at age 93. Small was pulled up to the big leagues by CBS from affiliate station WHAS where he transformed the look of the network. Small hired women reporters like Louisville’s Diane Sawyer, Leslie Stahl, Connie Chung, and made huge strides in adding African American reporters.
— Terry Meiners (@terrymeiners) May 28, 2020