CBS News shuffles deck

CBS News prexy Eric Ober announced yesterday a long-expected reshuffling of showrunners for his division’s prime time news magazines.

Andrew Lack–formerly exec producer of “Face to Face With Connie Chung” and the creator of the innovative “West 57th”–will now be the executive producer of “Street Stories,” which airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the Eye web.

“48 Hours” executive producer Andrew Heyward will take the reins of a new Connie Chung vehicle tentatively slated for a summer rollout. Catharine Lasiewicz, who oversees “Street Stories,” will take over for Heyward at “48 Hours.”

Lack is highly regarded at CBS News for elegant production touches such as including a David Byrne score or Dustin Hoffman voiceover in his documentaries.

Many exex at the web reportedly felt he shouldn’t be squandering his talents producing sporadic specials like the recent Malcolm X docu and last summer’s Watergate anniversary spec.

Over the past year, Lack has also overseen a number of World War II documentaries that showcase Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

Currently, he is helming another Schwarzkopf project that will feature the general and anchorman Dan Rather returning to Vietnam.

Heyward has long been the star magazine producer of the news division and is responsible for the successful rollouts of “48 Hours” and “Street Stories.”

Many exex at CBS were cheered yesterday by the news that Lack would be getting back into the magazine game. He is highly regarded there, and one former high-level CBS exec even suggested that Heyward and Lack “do their best work when they’re competing against one another.”

Before his stint as senior producer under Heyward at “48 Hours,” Lasiewicz was CBS News’s national editor from June 1986 to January 1988.

For the last six months, Lack has been consulting on “Street Stories,” but when asked by Variety several months ago whether he would be running the show eventually, he responded, “I’m executive producer of bupkis.”

By the launch of the fall season, the Connie Chung vehicle would bring the number of prime time news magazines to 12.

With only 22 hour slots on the three webs’ schedules, more than half of the new season may be composed of news programming.

While this amortizes the cost of web news divisions, it begs the question: Exactly how much magazine programming can the viewing public handle?

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