CNN and CBS News are putting a potential partnership back on the table, New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports.Sherman’s sources tell him that CBS and CNN executives have been in negotiations for months, discussing ways they could combine their operations for cost-cutting and audience expansion.
The two networks have flirted with a merger for years, although CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves ruled it out as recently as last March.
But now the timing seems apt.
This time around, television executives speculate that the economics make too much sense. CBS News has previously expressed interest in recruiting CNN star Anderson Cooper, who already appears as a contributor to 60 Minutes. And next May, Katie Couric’s reported $15 million annual contract with CBS is up for renewal. A combined CBS-CNN might offer more possibilities to negotiate Couric’s new deal while giving her additional opportunities to showcase her interviews. CNN’s ratings struggles against Fox News and MSNBC would conceivably benefit from an injection of CBS News star power, if terms about sharing talent could be reached.
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