Because of cost cuts ordered after CBS' expensive victory over Ted Turner's takeover attempt, the CBS News bureau in Los Angeles no longer keeps a five-member technical crew on standby for three hours to update the "CBS Evening News" each week night.
And anchorman Dan Rather no longer begins the show seen on the West Coast as "the Western Edition of the CBS Evening News," a nightly announcement that was inaugurated with some fanfare about six years ago. It was dropped about a month ago, a CBS executive says.
However, a producer, a director and a correspondent still remain on standby in Los Angeles if it proves necessary to update "Evening News" stories or insert late-breaking ones after the program's second and final feed from New York at 3:30 p.m. PDT. Ted Savaglio, CBS News' bureau chief in Los Angeles, said in an interview Tuesday that the changes--which also include the layoffs of a production assistant and an associate producer--were necessitated by cost-control measures ordered for all 17 divisions of CBS Inc.
"We still continue to update the show," he emphasized. "The big difference is that now we have to call for the technicians instead of keeping them on standby." The savings, he said, amount to several hundred thousand dollars a year.
(A total of 74 CBS News employees were laid off last month and 51 others took early retirement amid efforts by CBS Inc. to trim its 30,000-member work force by year's end. The parent company spent almost $1 billion in successfully fighting off a hostile takeover attempt by Turner, the Atlanta-based cable-TV entrepreneur.)
Bob Eaton and David Glodt, respectively the bureau chiefs of NBC News and ABC News in Los Angeles, said no cuts or changes have been made for their staffs who update stories or insert late-breaking ones for their respective networks' evening news programs.
Like the "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News" and ABC's "World News Tonight" are transmitted to their networks' owned-and-operated stations and affiliates at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. PDT each weeknight.