CBS has chosen longtime “48 Hours” producer Susan Zirinsky to take over the helm at its news division. Zirinsky will become the president of CBS News on March 1, succeeding David Rhodes. Her appointment follows a series of high-profile changes at the network, including the ouster of Les Moonves as CEO following a series of sexual harassment charges. Zirinsky comes in as CBS faces a steep ratings slide for its evening newscast, “Face the Nation” and “CBS This Morning,” which saw a double-digit drop in viewership after the departure of Charlie Rose. She will be tasked with finding a new executive producer for “CBS This Morning” as well as filling the top spot at “60 Minutes,” which is currently being run on an interim basis by Bill Owens following the September firing of Jeff Fager. In a statement, Zirinsky said that restoring the division’s morale is also a priority. “I think the most important thing for me is to bring the organization together spiritually,” she said.
The Dallas Morning News axed 43 employees on Jan. 7, including about 20 writers, editors, photographers and newsroom support personnel. The overall staff reduction represents approximately four percent of the 978 employees at the paper’s parent company, A. H. Belo Corporation. The company says the cuts were a necessary move as it prepares to make greater investments in its digital products. “We believe these steps are key to making the transition to a dynamic journalistic entity that can thrive in the digital world,’’ said A.H. Belo chief financial officer Katy Murray. Through the first three quarters of 2018, revenue for the Morning News dipped 18.9 percent to $149.77 million, from $184.55 million in the same period for 2017.
NBCUniversal plans to cut the amount of ads in its primetime programming 20 percent by 2020, according to a report on Axios. The company already trimmed 10 percent from its ad schedules for the 2018-19 season. The reduction is part of what NBCUniversal calls “an effort to bring audiences a better viewing experience and provide marketers more engaging advertising opportunities.” NBCU plans to make up for the lower ad inventory by providing formats and technologies that it claims will add value to the commercials that still run. One of the options is what it calls “prime pods,” 60-second spots of national ad time airing near the start or end of a program. Another is a new technology meant to help advertisers align their messages with specific moments from programs. According to Variety, NBCU also says it may trim commercial inventory in daytime programs such as “Today.”