CBS News has axed a news producer who cut into prime-time programming Wednesday night to report the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The staffer, a female senior producer for CBS’s overnight newscast Up to the Minute, broke in to CSI: N.Y. shortly before 11 p.m. with the report, outraging viewers who missed the end of the crime drama.
CBS apologized for the interruption Thursday, saying an “overly aggressive” staffer “jumped the gun on a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news.”
As for the producer’s dismissal, a CBS spokesperson said Friday, “We do not comment on personnel issues.” CBS planned to repeat the CSI: N.Y. episode Friday night to placate viewers.
An executive at a rival broadcast network said the whole situation left them puzzled. “I think people here were scratching their heads over the decision to break in, and then scratching it even harder over the apology for breaking in,” the exec says. “And now we’re wondering what kind of process they have in place to take the network to a special report.”