What’s a CBS Guy Doing at NBC?

By Chris Ariens 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Former CBS News chief Andrew Heyward says his new gig as an NBC News consultant has nothing to do with his alma mater.

“I have wonderful relationships at CBS,” says Heyward, 58, head of the news division from 1996 to 2005. “It’s just easier to come in and do a project at a place where you haven’t worked before. It’s totally non-threatening and positive.”

Heyward, who left CBS in the aftermath of Memogate, says he gets together regularly with his successor, Sean McManus.

He also chats with former colleague Alexandra Wallace, now an NBC News executive. During a recent conversation, “she said they had a project they wanted me to look into.”

The handshake deal will probably run through the summer, according to Heyward, and involves newsgathering initiatives. He says it won’t interfere with his work at Marketspace, a digital media consulting firm.

“This could be the BBC or CBC,” he says. “It happens to be NBC.”

Heyward confirms he had “a couple of meetings” in the spring with CNBC president Mark Hoffman about a programming post there. “I never pitched to him nor he to me,” Heyward says, adding that he has “incredible respect for CNBC and what they’ve done there.”