TV stations head Wendy McMahon takes over CBS News in new, expanded role

A woman in a green blazer smiles.
Wendy McMahon is the new president of CBS News.
(Sonja Flemming / CBS)
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TV stations chief Wendy McMahon will take over as head of CBS News, replacing Neeraj Khemlani, whose exit was revealed Sunday.

Paramount Global-owned CBS News announced Monday that McMahon is adding the company’s news and CBS syndication units to her portfolio. Khemlani will remain with the company as a content producer.

McMahon and Khemlani had served as co-heads of CBS News and Stations since May 2021.

They were brought in after an executive house-cleaning at the CBS stations division that followed a Los Angeles Times investigation into how previous management allegedly bullied female managers and blocked efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.


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July 1, 2020

McMahon’s new role is president and chief executive of CBS News and Stations and CBS Media Ventures. She will take over the syndication operation — which distributes such shows as “Jeopardy!” and “Inside Edition” — from Steven LoCascio, who is retiring.

Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, a 30-year veteran at the network, will become president of CBS News and report to McMahon. Ciprian-Matthews was most recently served as executive vice president in charge of newsgathering.

Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews will be president of CBS News, reporting to Wendy McMahon.

McMahon joined CBS from ABC, where she ran the network’s television stations. Before that, she was senior vice president responsible for digital content and product technology for the stations.

McMahon previously served as a vice president for programming and creative services at KABC-TV Channel 7, the top-rated station in Los Angeles.

McMahon is credited with boosting the station division, which had been demoralized for years under previous leadership. She expanded the local news streaming operations for the outlets.

Neeraj Khemlani
Neeraj Khemlani had served as co-head of CBS News and Stations since May 2021.
(Evan Agostini / invision/AP)

Khemlani, a former “60 Minutes” producer and executive for Hearst Corp., brought financial stability to CBS News during his tenure. But he was privately criticized by some co-workers for being blunt in his interactions inside the division. Some of those complaints were reported by the New York Post, which led to speculation that his days were numbered.

Khemlani’s brusque behavior was the subject of a human resources investigation completed in December, according to people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment. No actions followed the inquiry, but it was clear Khemlani had worn out his welcome at CBS News.

Khemlani’s transition to a new role was under discussion with CBS Chief Executive George Cheeks for several months and its timing is not related to any human resources issue, said another person briefed on the matter.

CBS News declined to comment on the HR probe.

Khemlani oversaw the revamp of the network’s morning show, “CBS Mornings.” He beefed up the CBS News streaming channel, adding programs and getting the network’s big-name on-air talent involved.

Khemlani also succeeded in attracting new names to the division, including Nate Burleson, co-host of “CBS Mornings”; Cecilia Vega, who left ABC News to join “60 Minutes”; investigative journalist Lisa Ling and former Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.


Khemlani was under pressure to reduce costs in the news division, which had fallen into the red before he arrived, as CBS deals with declining traditional TV audiences, which result in lower ad revenues.

The L.A.-based reporter who specializes in long-form storytelling will be a contributor across CBS News’ morning programs.

May 31, 2023

Cheeks, who hired Khemlani, praised him for his performance at the company in a memo sent to staff Sunday.

“Neeraj will leave CBS News with our broadcasts stronger and our streaming footprint bigger and better,” Cheeks wrote. “The talent he recruited to the division the past few years is best in class. He has put new business plans in place to drive more revenue, which is essential in a challenging environment for all media companies.”

Times staff writer Meg James contributed to this report.