November 30, 2005

CBS Evening News gets new chief ahead of makeover

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - A made-over "CBS Evening
News" still might be months away, but the network's newly
arrived news chief took a key step Tuesday with a change at the
top of the perennially third-place newscast.

CBS News president Sean McManus named "60 Minutes" veteran
Rome Hartman as executive producer of the nightly newscast
beginning January 9. He will take over from Jim Murphy, who
with six years at the helm had been the longest-serving
executive producer in the newscast's storied history.

The fate of "Evening News" has been in flux since Dan
Rather announced his retirement from the anchor desk. Rather
left in March, and Bob Schieffer was named temporary anchor,
but that assignment has stretched longer than expected.

In an interview Tuesday, Hartman said Schieffer would be a
part of the newscast for at least a while "at the same time we
plan for what's next." Hartman praised Schieffer's role not
only on the air but behind the scenes as a mentor and editor.

"I'm looking forward to working with him," Hartman said.

Hartman starts in January because he still is finishing
pieces for "60 Minutes," where he has worked as a producer
since 1991. He has held a number of jobs at CBS, including
working on pieces and helping run the evening news as a senior
producer in CBS' Washington bureau.

While he said it wasn't the time to talk specifics about
the new broadcast, Hartman said he would bring a new verve and
sense of fun to the "CBS Evening News."

CBS chief Leslie Moonves has long wanted to remake the
newscast but was unhappy with plans made by then-news president
Andrew Heyward. But now Heyward and his No. 2, Marcy McGinnis,
have left the network.

Hartman said there was no timetable for a change, including
a new anchor or anchors.

"It's going to be done when it's ready to be done, well and
right," Hartman said.

Hartman will inherit a broadcast that has been mired in
third place for more than a decade. In the months after Rather
left, Schieffer was able to keep the audience and, in recent
weeks, the newscast was the only one of the Big Three to grow
year-over-year, according to CBS.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter