CBS News Chief Neeraj Khemlani Is Stepping Down

CBS News President and co-head Neeraj Khemlani, who has guided the news division and local TV stations for a little over two years, made a sudden announcement on Sunday regarding his departure from his current position.

In a memo addressed to the staff, Khemlani conveyed his decision with clarity, stating, “I have some news to share today, and I don’t want to bury the lede. After an exhilarating run, and before the next season starts, I’ve decided to step back from my current role and start a new exciting chapter.”

Khemlani disclosed that he has entered into a “multi-year, multi-platform first look deal with CBS to develop content” for the network, encompassing projects such as “documentaries, scripted series, and books for Simon & Schuster.”

The successor to Khemlani remains uncertain, although Wendy McMahon, who shares the same title as president and co-head of CBS News and TV stations, is being considered as a potential candidate.

George Cheeks, the CEO of CBS, lauded Khemlani’s contributions in a separate memo to the staff, assuring them that he would soon provide updates regarding “information about the new leadership and structure for the division.”

The absence of an immediate announcement about a new network chief or interim leadership team following Khemlani’s unexpected departure on Sunday underlines the abrupt nature of his decision.

Noteworthy news programs like “60 Minutes,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Face the Nation,” and the “Evening News” fall under the purview of the CBS News president.

While CBS News holds a dominant position in Sunday programming, the network has struggled to secure a higher position against NBC and ABC in daily programming. However, it managed to enhance its ratings under Khemlani’s leadership.

During his tenure, Khemlani bolstered the reporting team at CBS News, successfully attracting well-known journalists such as Robert Costa and Cecilia Vega to the network. Despite his ability to draw esteemed reporters to the organization, Khemlani encountered challenges along the way. Earlier this year, he became the subject of a human resources investigation.

Khemlani’s departure marks the third instance of a network news chief exiting in 2023. Chris Licht was dismissed from CNN earlier in the year following a tumultuous period, and in January, Noah Oppenheim left NBC News.

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