Josh Howard Leaving CNBC

Shortfall Season at CNBC

Josh Howard, vice president of CNBC’s long form unit, is leaving the network, according to sources.

Howard’s contract expires next week and with cuts looming at CNBC, he declined to seek a new one.

His departure comes as the long form unit celebrates its third Emmy – and the third in CNBC’s 19-year history – awarded Tuesday at the 6th annual business and financial news Emmys. 

The award went to newsmagazine Business Nation for the report Field of Dreams about Brazil’s status as the world’s new farming superpower.

It was the second Emmy for the newsmagazine, which was cancelled last summer.

Jonathan Wald, senior vice president of CNBC, said in a press release announcing the award: “This Emmy win is a testament to the excellent reporting skills, hard work, and creativity of our news team.”

Formed three years ago, the unit was an ambitious endeavor, producing investigative pieces and offering viewers a deeper dive with single-topic documentaries. Upcoming projects include a two-hour documentary on the sub-prime collapse reported by David Faber and set to premiere in January and investigations into America’s burgeoning marijuana market and the cruise line industry for February and March, respectively.

The unit has already been downsized, a result of the cancellation of Business Nation. The unit continues to produce monthly documentaries the cost of which are more easily amortized with multiple airings. Documentary filmmaking is expensive and CNBC executives are now engaged in the messy business of trimming the network’s budget as part of a $500 million across-the-board slash at NBC Universal.

Howard came to CNBC three years ago after a lengthy career at CBS News came to an abrupt end over the 60 Minutes II report about President Bush’s Vietnam era service in the Texas Air National Guard. Howard was the executive in charge of the segment. He was asked to resign along with senior staffers Betsy West and Mary Murphy.

Mitch Weitzner, also a veteran of CBS News and 60 Minutes, came to CNBC with Howard to lead the long form unit. According to sources, Weitzner has renegotiated his contract and will remain at CNBC. As the executive producer on the Field of Dreams segment, he is also celebrating an Emmy win.

A CNBC spokesperson had no comment.