Michael Eisner: ‘ABC Makes Money on News’

By Alex Weprin 

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner was a guest on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” this afternoon on Fox News. Eisner, who left Disney in 2005, spoke to Cavuto about the departure of ABC News chief David Westin, whether the network should keep its news division and even “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric.

Cavuto: I was thinking of ABC because David Westin, the ABC news chief is stepping down, and some say that ABC might disband the news division, what do you think?

Eisner: I don’t think that is true frankly, and David leaving is not a result of changes in the world. He decided to do something different than what he had been doing for a long time.


But the world is changing, you are wearing a watch, your kids probably are not. I ask my kids what time is it and they look at their iPod or their phone or blackberry. The things we grew up thinking are part of our body — newspapers, commodities, sports, information — are now everywhere, and the things that are unique are the brands, the one of a kind, movies, television shows.

Cavuto: If you were to advise your successor, Bob Iger, would you tell him ABC doesn’t need news?

Eisner: No, no, I certainly wouldn’t tell him that, and I certainly wouldn’t tell you that I would tell him that. How unpopular could you be!


ABC Makes money on news. When I worked at ABC in the 60’s we did not make money in news. Then in the 70’s and 80’s they made more and more and in the 90’s we made more. And they are still making money on news. It is not black and white but it is a different world.

Cavuto: Would you pay Katie Couric $15 million a year to read the news?

Eisner: Maybe I would pay her to play for the Yankees, I don’t know. She is very good at what she does, but I can’t tell you what I would pay her.