‘60 Minutes’ Boss Fager Leaving CBS News

Action ‘not directly related’ to published charges, company says
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Jeff Fager, the executive producer of 60 Minutes and former president of CBS News, is leaving the company immediately.

Fager was also accused of abusive behavior in articles in The New Yorker about the culture and environment at CBS that helped lead to the departure of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

But in a memo to staff, CBS News chairman David Rhodes said “this action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level. [New interim CBS CEO] Joe Ianniello is in full support of this decision and the transition to come.”

CBS News reported that Fager said he was terminated after he sent a text message to a CBS reporter demanding that she be fair in covering the story about him.

"My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it," Fager said. "One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did."

Fager said a charge published in the New Yorker that he groped a former intern was outrageous. The magazine also said 19 CBS staffers said Fager permitted an atmosphere of harassment.

Rhodes said that Bill Owens, Fager's longtime second in command, will manage the 60 Minutes team and that a search will begin for a new 60 Minutes producer.

60 Minutes is the most significant news broadcast on television. We are fortunate to have incredibly talented journalists in place whom we know will continue to deliver our defining investigative work,” Rhodes said.

Owens has been executive editor at 60 Minutes since 2008.

He had overseen the production of nearly 1,000 60 Minutes segments. He also launched an co-executive produced 60 Minutes Sports, which ran for five season on Showtime.

Owens began his journalism career as a summer intern for CBS News in 1988 working at the national presidential nominating conventions in Atlanta and New Orleans. Before joining 60 Minutes, he worked at WCBS-TV, CBS This Morning and as senior White House producer in Washington during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.