Hartman roams to BBC show

Exec to develop new hourlong newscast

The BBC has tapped former CBS News exec Rome Hartman to add another serious evening newscast to the media landscape.

Hartman, who was ousted from the Eye seven months after launching CBS’ “Evening News With Katie Couric,” will develop the hourlong 7 p.m. newscast, “BBC World News,” which will air on BBC America, the cable news and entertainment channel available in 55 million American homes.

The show will also air on BBC World News, a 24-hour cable news channel, which is in more than 200 million homes worldwide but has had difficulty gaining a foothold in the U.S.

It will replace “BBC World,” the half-hour news show on BBC America hosted by Washington-based correspondent Katty Kay. That newscast has an audience of about 1 million viewers in the U.S.

Hartman spent more than 20 years at CBS News, much of that as a producer for Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes.” Incoming CBS News and Sports prexy Sean McManus named Hartman exec producer of CBS’ flagship newscast in 2005, and he oversaw the launch of Couric’s newscast last fall.

Ratings for that newscast sank below those of predecessor Bob Schieffer, and Hartman was replaced by former CNN topper Rick Kaplan in March.

The new BBC show marks a substantial investment in the U.S. market, and will draw on the pubcaster’s global reporting resources for coverage. The BBC has 250 correspondents and 2,000 journalists posted worldwide.

“No single broadcast organization in the world can do what the BBC does every single day,” Hartman said.

He sees the show as an American version of the BBC’s “NewsNight,” which combines breaking news and in-depth interviews. “It’s the best of Ted Koppel’s ‘Nightline’ and ’60 Minutes,’ ” Hartman said.

BBC America carries three hours of news from BBC World News in the morning. The 24-hour news channel is carried on digital tiers by Cablevision and Verizon, reaching about 4 million homes.

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