Neeraj Khemlani and Wendy McMahon started in their new roles at CBS May 3, the pair taking over as presidents and co-heads of the newly united CBS News and CBS Television Stations division. Khemlani comes from Hearst and McMahon was president of the ABC-owned stations. Both were part of CBS earlier in their career, and told their staffers it “certainly feels like a homecoming.”
In a memo to news and stations staffers, Khemlani and McMahon saluted George Cheeks, president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group, and his vision for a unified CBS News and station group. The two said it creates “a pathway to the future. It’s a bold outlook that gives us opportunities to innovate and grow. One strategy, build on a foundation of important journalism, the relevance of our local stations and the clear promise of streaming.”
They mentioned WCCO in the Twin Cities working with CBSN Minnesota, CBS News, radio and Newspath to cover the Derek Chauvin trial. “CBS stood out on every platform during this landmark event,” said Khemlani and McMahon, who also noted how WBBM Chicago and CBS News quickly had news gatherers on the scene following shootings at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.
“This new vision is unique to CBS–we are not saddled with the siloed structures and business models of our competitors,” they said. “We are already in position to build at scale the premier local-to-global streaming news experience. By harnessing the power of our teams, we will be able to provide unparalleled, expansive on-the-ground reporting.”
The unified division holds CBS News, CBSN and 28 TV stations.
Khemlani and McMahon also said they will expand CBS News’ Race and Culture Unit across the station group and digital division, “ensuring that we are elevating the voices of our under-represented communities.”
The owned stations, the pair added, expand their CBSN Local footprint when the digital product launches in Sacramento, Baltimore and Miami this year.
Khemlani and McMahon saluted outgoing CBS News President Susan Zirinsky, and how she “has sharpened the organization in nearly every way” during her tenure.
“What can we say on Day 1 is that we are committed to working and winning together as a team,” they concluded, “unified in our pursuit of great journalism and in support of one another.”
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