Forbes’ Dirk Smillie reports today that additional layoffs could be coming to CBS News and sooner rather than later:
“My understanding is that the cuts are coming this month. I’ve heard this from the highest level,” says one producer. If the cuts are made, it will be the third major round of layoffs at the network since 2008. In February, 75 staffers lost their jobs. This time, though, it could be the business side’s turn under the axe. “I can’t imagine there’s another 75 people to whack on the news side,” the producer said.
A CBS News spokesperson declined to comment on rumors to TVNewser.
Meanwhile, Smillie uses the layoff murmurings as a jumping off point to explore more on that CBS+CNN chatter we’ve been hearing.
“CBS knows that it can’t survive without a cable platform. It needs to be part of a larger newsgathering entity,” says a producer. “But there’s a wrestling match going on between CBS and CNN over who will control it.” A likely bet: CNN president Jon Klein, who spent 16 years at CBS News, overseeing “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours.”
If CBS did turn over management of “60 Minutes” to Klein, it would come as something of a surprise. The flagship program had been thought to be “exempt” from any partnership between the two networks.
In any case, the oversight issue has long been seen as a potential sticking point for the news orgs. Former-CBSer Dan Rather noted in May, “One doesn’t want to underestimate the internal problems of, in the end, who’s going to have the final say.”