CBS New York makes history with GM promotion

Johnny Green Jr. becomes first African-American in position in WCBS’s history

ViacomCBS announced Wednesday the promotion of interim news director Johnny Green Jr. to president and general manager of WCBS-TV, the CBS flagship station in New York City, becoming the first Black executive to hold the title at the CBS-owned station. 

“Since returning to CBS nine weeks ago, I have been thoroughly impressed by the thoughtful and seasoned leadership Johnny has provided inside the CBS 2 newsroom and at Newspath,” president and co-head of CBS News and Stations Wendy McMahon said in a statement. “With this well-deserved promotion, we look forward to having Johnny lead our station-wide team efforts to produce great content, serve our diverse communities across the Tri-State Area, and promote a positive workplace culture.” McMahon returned to the network two months ago from a similar position at ABC. 

In addition to WCBS, Green will also oversee other CBS properties in New York, including independent WLNY; CBSN New York; and CBSNewYork.com, the online home to all three. 

“I am deeply honored to receive this wonderful new opportunity,” Green said in a statement. “I have great admiration for my colleagues at CBS New York and look forward to collaborating with all of them as we work together to positively transform our business and culture as a united CBS Stations and News organization. ”

Green was previously vice president and news director of CBS-owned WBZ and WSBK, and prior to his employment in Boston, worked as an executive news producer at NBC-owned WCAU in Philadelphia and Cox’s WPXI Pittsburgh and was a producer at several stations in North Carolina. 

The news comes after CBS recently fired former Television Stations president Peter Dunn after a Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered allegations of racism and sexism at the station group, including mocking a top Black news anchor at the company’s KYW-TV in Philadelphia and the abrupt resignation of Marty Wilke and the subsequent removal of other female execs at WBBM-TV here in Chicago. 

This year has seen a few strides in making the executive suites in television more diverse. CBS named Black executives at KYW/WPSG in Philadelphia and at WFOR/WBFS in Miami. NBC named Kevin Cross as GM of WMAQ-TV, WSNS-TV, and NBC Sports Chicago here in April, becoming the second Black television exec in the station’s history and just the third in the city’s history. The first was Jonathan Rodgers, who was named GM of CBS’ WBBM-TV in 1986 coincidently after Operation PUSH boycotted the station after Harry Porterfield was demoted from a top anchor spot. 

In 2019, Dujuan McCoy formed Circle City Broadcasting to buy WISH-TV and WNDY in Indianapolis after Nexstar was forced to divest the duo after purchasing Tribune Media, who owned the WTTV/WXIN duopoly. He became the first Black television station owner in Indiana, while Byron Allen has made numerous stations acquisitions to build up his group. 

In the last few years, WCBS’ newscasts have seen a better performance as opposed to the past, when they generally ranked a distant third or fourth. During the May sweeps in households, WCBS finished second at 5 p.m. and a close third at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. behind market leader WABC-TV and WNBC-TV. But keep in mind the numbers posted here aren’t verified, so they may be different. 

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