In the last two weeks, the CBS Evening News has drawn just 4.89 million viewers on average, the lowest ratings recorded in the 20 years Nielsen Media Research has been keeping track. During the first of those two weeks, Couric traveled to Afghanistan and landed an exclusive interview with Gen. David Petraeus, among others. The CBS Early Show has logged around 2.2 million viewers on average this summer, less than half the ratings of NBC’s Today.
One person described the atmosphere inside the network as “sepulchral.”…
Around the same time, CBS announced a round of layoffs that reduced the roughly 1,400-person staff by nearly 100. A host of smaller snips came as well: The person who handled ordering business cards vanished, and staffers haven’t been able to get them since. Cell phone services are blocked on company-provided BlackBerrys for many producers, who are now encouraged to communicate by text. The communication between CBS brass, including news division president Sean McManus, and their staff has all but vanished.
“There’s no email,” said one producer. “There is no sense at all that you’re at a network.”