Stephanopolous Rejected CBS

TV Week’s Michele Greppi reports that “CBS News courted but couldn’t land George Stephanopoulos, who recently signed a new deal, with a nice raise, to stay at ABC News for four more years.”

    The interest in Mr. Stephanopoulos offers a glimpse into the mind of CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus, who has been identifying young talent he thinks has star potential since he took over CBS News last December with the declaration that “being No. 3 is not acceptable.”

    Sources close to Mr. Stephanopoulos say Mr. McManus made an aggressive pitch that included talk about multiple plum roles, including Washington bureau chief and chief political analyst, and a high-profile position as the chief on-air political foil for Ms. Couric. He is said to have been told that he would be able to contribute to “60 Minutes.”

    CBS News sources say Mr. Berger and Mr. Stephanopoulos initiated the talks and that the conversation never turned into an actual offer to Mr. Stephanopoulos. Both sides concede that the topic of bureau chief position arose, but the CBS sources suggested that Mr. McManus was cool to the idea. Janet Leissner has been CBS News VP and Washington bureau chief since 1998.

    Both camps agree that Mr. McManus made clear he could not offer a Sunday newsmaker show in the short term because Bob Schieffer is assured that he will be moderator of “Face the Nation” for as long he wishes.