New CBS News Prez Rallies His Troops

CBS’ Public Eye blog takes us inside yesterday’s Day-two-on-the-job meeting between incoming News President Sean McManus and the rank-and-file CBSers:

Some of the themes McManus struck included a pursuit of excellence, a competitive desire to take CBS News up in the ratings and a willingness to experiment combined with a respect for the traditions of CBS News. McManus several times tied himself to the future success of the news division, commenting on leaving a comfortable spot as head of CBS Sports where his golf handicap had fallen in recent years to head a network number three in many categories.

McManus at one point noted, “If I didn’t think we could get it done, I wouldn’t have taken it because I certainly don’t want to be associated with anything remotely considered failure.” While McManus remains president of CBS Sports, he said 95 percent of his time will be spent focusing on the news division for the foreseeable future.”

McManus went on to talk about his plans to overcome the so-so network ratings and issued a challenge to the staff: “If you’re not extremely frustrated, and perhaps even a little bit angry about being number three in the evening news and the early morning, then you probably shouldn’t be in this room.”

While he admitted he has a wish list of talent, he said that he’s going to take things slowly–aiming for doing things right rather than quickly.

> We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get this type of insight from inside all the television networks?