NEW YORK — Four days after he landed the job of president of CBS News, Sean McManus has named Tony Petitti as the executive who’ll succeed him in running CBS Sports.
Petitti will keep his title of executive producer but add the new one of executive VP of CBS Sports, taking over the day-to-day management of the division. Petitti is the logical choice, having served as McManus’ second in command for the past three years. But McManus will retain the title of president of CBS Sports.
In a conference call with reporters, Petitti said one of his first orders of business will be to negotiate an extension with the PGA Tour.
“We’d also like to increase our position in college football,” he said. But for now, he continued, CBS Sports has three years to go on its contract with the SEC, which keeps the network stocked with Saturday-afternoon games throughout the football season.
The Major League Baseball contract is up for renewal at the Fox Network, which has one year to go on its current six-year, $2.5 billion deal and is coming off the worst World Series ratings in TV history. But “baseball doesn’t interest us because it’s more of a primetime vehicle,” said Petitti. “We won’t actively pursue it.”
Petitti “has played an integral role” in getting CBS Sports back into competition with its network rivals, said McManus, citing the National Football League contract that CBS engineered in 1997, outbidding NBC. At that time, Petitti was senior VP of business affairs and programming for CBS Sports. Petitti also worked on the record-breaking 12-year, $6.2 billion contract for the NCAA college basketball championships, which runs through the 2013-14 season.
Petitti shifted from his senior VP job at CBS Sports in 1999 to take over as VP and general manager of WCBS-TV, the CBS flagship in New York. He returned to CBS Sports in August 2002.
Before CBS Sports, Petitti was VP of programming for ABC Sports from 1994-96.