Mel Karmazin: One of My Biggest Disappointments Was Not Buying CNN


Sirius satellite CEO Mel Karmazin stopped by Business Week’s offices on his endless tour of promoting the Sirius-XM merger to any and all who will listen. In a previous incarnation, Karmazin was one of the many ”second-in-command” executives under the mercurial Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone. As President/ COO of Viacom, Karmazin had a contentious relationship with his boss. While his successor, Les Moonves, went with Katie Couric as the first woman anchor, Karmazin’s plans were no less radical. From Business Week (via IWantmedia):

”Karmazin, the former chief of CBS, was asked for his thoughts on how to fix the once legendary but now flagging CBS Evening News. ‘What would I do with the CBS Evening News? I challenged everybody when I was there. I said, Let’s eliminate it. You know, I mean who cares?’ he says. ‘The issue was that that became impractical because if you’re a network, you’ve got to have a news organization.’

”His real answer is no less provocative. ‘What I would have done, I tried to do, and that was buy CNN,’ he says. ‘Time Warner should own Cablevision. And if, in fact, they were to buy Cablevision, they would have needed some money. And I don’t think CNN is a core asset for Time Warner. CNN could have been a cheap way of doing the evening news. I would say certainly one of my biggest disappointments was not being able to buy CNN.”

CBS News, with its proud heritage, and CNN, with its restless energy and solid documentaries, seem, on the surface at least, well matched. Watching ”60 Minutes” it is sometimes hard to tell where CBS begins and CNN ends.