CBS ‘60 Minutes’ Executive Producer Jeff Fager to Depart

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Jeff Fager, the chief producer of “60 Minutes” and one of the vital highly effective figures in tv information, is leaving

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the corporate stated Wednesday.

Mr. Fager despatched a textual content message to CBS Information Correspondent Jericka Duncan, who has been overlaying the varied scandals which have engulfed the corporate and its information division, warning her to tread rigorously in her protection in a means that was interpreted as threatening, in keeping with folks accustomed to the matter.

CBS Information President David Rhodes stated in a memo to workers that Mr. Fager “violated firm coverage and it’s our dedication to uphold these insurance policies at each degree.”

Mr. Rhodes added: “This motion at the moment is just not instantly associated to the allegations surfaced in press reviews, which proceed to be investigated independently.”

Mr. Fager was named in two current New Yorker tales outlining allegations of sexual harassment towards just lately departed CBS Chief Government Leslie Moonves and a broader firm tradition that tolerated sexual harassment. One former worker instructed the journal Mr. Fager groped her at an organization occasion. Mr. Fager has denied the accusations.

“Watch out,” Mr. Fager wrote Ms. Duncan, in keeping with a “CBS Night Information” report Wednesday. “There are individuals who misplaced their jobs making an attempt to hurt me and in case you go on these damaging claims with out your individual reporting to again them up that can turn into a significant issue.”

“The corporate’s resolution had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker,” Mr. Fager stated in a written assertion. “As a substitute, they terminated my contract early as a result of I despatched a textual content message to one among our personal CBS reporters demanding that she be honest in overlaying the story. My language was harsh and, even though journalists obtain harsh calls for for equity on a regular basis, CBS didn’t prefer it. One such observe ought to NOT lead to termination after 36 years, but it surely did.”

CBS has named two legislation companies to research alleged misconduct inside CBS Corp., together with its information division.

Mr. Fager will go away the corporate instantly, Mr. Rhodes stated. In his absence, Invoice Owens—Mr. Fager’s second in command—will lead “60 Minutes” and a search shall be performed for a brand new govt producer.

Mr. Fager, 63 years outdated, joined CBS Information in 1982 and rose via the ranks as a producer, changing into an govt producer of “The CBS Night Information” and “60 Minutes II.”

In 2004, he took the reins as govt producer of “60 Minutes,” a number one newsmagazine present for half a century, from its creator, Don Hewitt. In 2011, underneath an normal power-sharing construction, he was named chairman of CBS Information whereas Mr. Rhodes, almost twenty years his junior, was introduced in from Bloomberg LP and named president answerable for each day operations.

Mr. Fager stepped down as chairman of CBS Information in 2015, however he continued to report on to and have the ear of Mr. Moonves, an uncommon relationship for the CBS hierarchy, in keeping with folks accustomed to the matter.

The folks stated that Mr. Fager’s departure was seen as inevitable after Mr. Moonves stepped down earlier this week amid a CBS board investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted and harassed a number of ladies, expenses Mr. Moonves denied.

“As soon as Les was gone, he had no hope,” stated one of many folks.

The CBS Information division has individually been the topic of quite a few articles detailing allegations of sexual harassment. In November, the Washington Publish reported claims that Charlie Rose, then co-host of “CBS This Morning,” harassed eight ladies. Mr. Rose apologized, though he stated he didn’t imagine all of the allegations have been correct. CBS fired Mr. Rose instantly.

In Could, the Publish adopted up with allegations from 27 extra ladies towards Mr. Rose spanning three many years, together with extra allegations that CBS Information managers had been warned about his habits. Mr. Rose instructed the Publish its story was “inaccurate.” CBS Information employed outdoors legislation agency Proskauer Rose LLP to research the claims and, as Mr. Rhodes put it, “guarantee a secure and respectful atmosphere.”

Earlier than the legislation agency may full its work, nonetheless, the New Yorker launched its preliminary report on July 27, outlining each allegations of sexual harassment towards Mr. Moonves and a broader tradition at CBS Information that tolerated sexual harassment. The CBS board responded by hiring two impartial legislation companies—Covington & Burling and Debevoise & Plimpton—to research each units of allegations.

Proskauer Rose was instructed to “successfully hand over their notes” on the CBS Information investigation to the 2 legislation companies employed to conduct the broader probe, in keeping with an individual accustomed to the matter.

Folks inside the corporate had questioned how the Proskauer Rose investigation may very well be impartial if it was reporting to CBS administration, in keeping with folks accustomed to the matter. The present investigations, that are persevering with, report back to a particular committee of the CBS board, which incorporates a number of new members after modifications applied this week by controlling shareholder Nationwide Amusements Inc.

The small print of Mr. Moonves’s separation settlement, launched Monday in a public submitting, brought on some consternation inside CBS Information, due to a clause that appeared to make it appear that the outcomes of the investigation can be stored confidential. “In our personal home, we should have transparency,” stated “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King on the present Tuesday.

An individual accustomed to the matter stated that the language within the settlement with Mr. Moonves doesn’t preclude the CBS board from sharing outcomes of the investigation, to the extent that’s obligatory to meet the board’s fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.

The brand new CBS board hasn’t met, and a consultant for the particular committee declined to touch upon whether or not the board deliberate to launch the outcomes of the investigation.

Write to Keach Hagey at keach.hagey@wsj.com



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