It’s the end of an era at CBS: Sean McManus is retiring after 27 years leading CBS Sports.
The New York Post broke the news of McManus’ retirement Tuesday morning.
McManus’ longtime deputy David Berson becomes CBS Sports No. 1 executive. Berson will retain his president’s title and add CEO of the division.
“He’s a legend,” Berson told The Post. “Very few people have had as much of an impact on the sports media industry ever. He’s the epitome of class. He’s been a true friend and mentor to me.”
According to the Post, in retirement, McManus hopes to be on some public company boards and do nonprofit work.
McManus has led CBS Sports since 1996, first as president before being elevated to the role of CBS Sports chairman in 2011, overseeing all properties across all CBS Sports operations. He has also served as executive producer of The NFL on CBS.
The NFL on CBS will most certainly be McManus’ defining legacy as a TV executive. He led CBS’ re-acquisition of the NFL package in 1998, poaching NBC’s AFC game package. CBS previously had the NFC game package before losing it to Fox Sports in 1993.
After bringing the NFL back to CBS, McManus hired the first and still to this day only black man, Greg Gumbel, to call a Super Bowl before replacing him with CBS Sports now-lead play-by-man Jim Nantz in 2004.
In 2017, McManus also made the decision to hire former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo to replace Phil Simms as Nantz’s partner on the No. 1 The NFL on CBS broadcast team.
CBS will continue to broadcast the NCAA Division 1 Men’s College Basketball Tournament through 2032, partnering with Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. On the college football front, next fall, CBS Sports will fully transition from the SEC to the Big Ten Conference in the network’s famed 3:30 p.m. ET window.
With McManus at the helm, CBS Sports also became the U.S. TV home to the Champions League, which is the top soccer club tournament in the world.
McManus served as President of CBS News and Sports from 2005 – 2011. This made him only the second person to hold both Division titles simultaneously; Roone Arledge held both at ABC from 1977-1986.
Six months after joining CBS News, McManus made another landmark move on the on-air talent front, hiring former Today show co-host Katie Couric to serve as the new anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News and a correspondent for 60 Minutes. In December 2010, McManus also oversaw a major revamp at The Early Show, naming Erica Hill and Chris Wragge co-anchors, Jeff Glor news anchor and Marysol Castro, weather anchor.
He also brought Anderson Cooper to 60 Minutes as a contributor.
McManus led CBS News through tragedy, when a car bomb attack in Baghdad on Memorial Day 2006 killed cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan and critically injured correspondent Kimberly Dozier. In August 2009, McManus once again guided CBS News through a tough stretch, as correspondent Cami McCormick was seriously injured by an IED in Afghanistan, in a blast that killed an American serviceman, Army Spc. Abraham Sherrod Wheeler III.
McManus departed CBS News in February 2011 to concentrate full-time on leading CBS Sports as chairman. CBS promoted then-60 Minutes ep Jeff Fager to the position of CBS News chairman, and former Fox News and Bloomberg TV executive David Rhodes joined the organization as CBS News president.