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Sean McManus Gives Up Oversight Of CBS News

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

CBS News and Sports chief Sen McManus is giving up the news division, and was on Feb. 8 named chairman of CBS Sports. 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager was named chairman of CBS News, and David Rhodes, former head of U.S. television for Bloomberg, joined the company as president of the news division.

"It has been a great honor to run CBS News," McManus said in a statement. "At the same time, I am very excited about the prospect of focusing solely on the many opportunities before CBS Sports. The role of sports is an integral and growing part of our company's success."

Leslie Moonves, president-CEO of CBS Corp., called sports "an ever-more important asset to CBS" in a statement announcing the moves. Sports has indeed become an important part of Moonves' strategy for CBS. In an October interview with B&C, he said the landmark deal the company did to share NCAA basketball with Turner made sports a profitable division.

The moves also of course come at a time when broadcast news divisions are grappling with shifting viewer habits, amortizing the cost of coverage and ever-increasing competition from cable and new distribution platforms. Former ABC News chief David Westin a year ago said the nearly 25% staff cut he announced then was made to facilitate "fundamental transformation."

Moonves himself last fall told a group of college students - and B&C -- that broadcast news is due for some swift change. CBS and CNN execs have talked about a possible merger in the past, but Moonves told B&C the deal is "a tough nut to crack." CBS News' deal with its lead anchor Katie Couric is up in May, but the expectation in the industry is that Couric will remain with the network in some fashion. However, Moonves told the college students in October the rich deal he made to bring Couric to the network "will be the last big deal of that kind ever done."

McManus was named president of CBS Sports in November 1996 and president of CBS News in October 2005. He was the second person after Roone Arledge at ABC to hold both division titles. McManus was inducted into the B&C Hall of Fame in 2010.

In Fager's new role, he will report to Moonves and guide the overall editorial direction, content and quality of all CBS News broadcasts on-air and online, according to the Feb. 8 announcement. Fager became executive producer of 60 Minutes when the show's founder Don Hewitt retired in 2004. Fager will keep the position.

As president of CBS News, Rhodes will report to Fager and run the operations of CBS News on a day-to-day basis, taking charge of all coverage and staffing. He had been in his position at Bloomberg since November 2008. Prior to joning Bloomberg, Rhodes worked for 12 years at Fox News, starting at the channel's early days in 1996 as a production assistant.

The appointments are effective Feb. 22.