CBS Combines News And TV Stations, Taps Neeraj Khemlani And Wendy McMahon To Lead New Division

Neeraj Khemlani, Wendy McMahon CBS

CBS is combining its news division and CBS Television Stations into one division, with Neeraj Khemlani  and Wendy McMahon named presidents and co-heads.

Khemlani has been a top executive at Hearst Newspapers, Cable Networks & Digital Media; McMahon is the former president of ABC Owned Television Stations Group. They will report to George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group.

“This is an opportunity to create a news and information structure that positions CBS for the future,” Cheeks said in a statement. “It speaks to our ability to scale newsgathering, production, technical and operational resources to serve both national and local, linear and digital, with the agility to deliver trusted information to every platform.”

McMahon and Khemlani will take their new positions at the network early next month. Susan Zirinsky, the current president of CBS News, will stay in that post until then. She is in discussions for a role at a new CBS News Content Studio that will be launched later this year. Reports surfaced earlier this week that Zirinsky, who first joined the network in 1972, planned to step down and return to producing.

Cheeks noted that Zirinsky “took the reins in March 2019 at a moment of turmoil in the division, creating stability and renewing passion for the brand internally and externally.”

The combination of oversight over news and TV stations comes at a moment as networks grapple with a new streaming future. CBS News’ streaming platform, CBSN, has 10 local platforms. The network owns 28 stations in 17 major markets.

Cheeks said that Khemlani and McMahon “have the leadership background and cross-platform accomplishments that cover all these important areas, and they share our commitment for supporting superior journalism, optimal delivery platforms and the strongest of organizational cultures.”

Khemlani most recently was executive vice president and deputy group head at Hearst Newspapers, and before that he was president and group head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, the operating group overseeing partnerships at ESPN and A+E Networks as well as digital video entertainment and music streaming businesses. He previously was a producer for Peter Jennings at ABC News from 1993 to 1996, and for Dan Rather and Bob Simon on 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II from 1998 to 2006.

McMahon was president of ABC Owned Stations from 2017 until her departure this week. She previously was senior vice president of ABC Digital, and also held a senior post at KABC in Los Angeles and was a creative services director at two CBS-owned stations, WBZ in Boston and WCCO in Minneapolis.

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