CBS has tapped a company veteran and a newcomer from cable to run its news operation.
In a restructuring of its executive ranks, CBS News named "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager chairman and brought in David Rhodes, who previously led domestic television operations for financial news firm Bloomberg News, as president.
Sean McManus, 55, who had been serving as president of both the network's news and sports divisions, will become chairman of CBS Sports.
Fager, 56, who becomes the first person to hold the title of chairman at CBS News, will have oversight of the unit's editorial operations both on television and online. Rhodes, 37, will run day-to-day operations.
In Fager, the network has an executive who has spent the bulk of his career at CBS and has deep relationships with talent and producers. Rhodes, who spent 12 years at Fox News before working at Bloomberg, is expected to act as an agent of change in bringing his cable experience to network news. Rhodes is a brother of Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter for President Obama.
The appointment of Rhodes marks the second time in recent months that a broadcast network has looked outside the usual candidate pool to find a new president. In December, ABC News named Ben Sherwood president. Sherwood had been an executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America" but left the TV news business to become an author and Internet entrepreneur.
CBS News faces many challenges. Although "60 Minutes" is still very strong, the network's morning and evening news programs remain stuck in third place. Katie Couric, who anchors the "CBS Evening News," has yet to indicate whether she will renew her contract when it expires this spring.
In an interview, Fager said he wanted to bring the "60 Minutes" style to the rest of CBS News.
"It's about quality, storytelling and original reporting to help better understand the events of the day," Fager said. Asked about Couric's status, Fager said he would "need to spend time with her to see what she is thinking … and what is best for CBS News."
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves played a key role in wooing Rhodes to the network. In a statement, Moonves said Rhodes would bring "fresh insights and a new point of view on the way we do things."
Rhodes was fairly tight-lipped about his plans. He did say that he shared the Bloomberg philosophy of an "open newsroom" and that he would like to encourage collaboration and interaction between reporters and management.
McManus, who has been president of CBS Sports since 1996, added news to his portfolio in 2005 at the behest of Moonves. He stepped in to replace Andrew Heyward, who left in the wake of Dan Rather's controversial "60 Minutes" report that alleged that President George W. Bush had been given preferential treatment from the U.S. military to avoid serving in Vietnam.
CBS is looking to increase its presence in sports, where it already has the National Football League and shares rights to the NCAA basketball tournament. McManus also has oversight of the CBS cable channel College Sports Network and now Showtime, CBS' pay TV channel, is dipping its toe further into sports.