Capus joins CBS evening newscast as top executive

Capus

NEW YORK - Former NBC News chief Steve Capus will join CBS in July as the top executive at Scott Pelley's evening newscast, the network said Tuesday.

Capus left NBC in 2013 after eight years as president of the news division, part of a turnover triggered by troubles at the "Today" show.

He was Tom Brokaw's last executive producer at NBC's "Nightly News" and is close to Brian Williams, whom he will now compete with each night.

Capus also will have broader responsibilities as executive editor of CBS News, behind chairman Jeff Fager and President David Rhodes. He will replace Pat Shevlin, who has transferred to "60 Minutes."

Division-wide and at Pelley's newscast, CBS favors a more meat-and-potatoes news approach than its rivals. But it has been unable to climb out of third place in the ratings, and lately second-place ABC has shown more life, with "World News" beating Williams' NBC telecast three out of four weeks in a youthful demographic, although not among all viewers.

"The broadcast has done better," Rhodes said, "but we've been in third place for a long time and we don't want to be."

The evening news has worked to differentiate itself from its rivals, and Rhodes said he hopes Capus can bring out more distinctiveness with his experience running a top-rated evening newscast and news division.

Since leaving NBC, Capus has been executive in residence at the IESE Business School in New York, where he will continue to have a role.

"I'm excited to get back in the control room," said Capus, who said he has been discussing the possibility of coming to CBS News with Rhodes for the past few weeks. He said he, Fager and Rhodes share a sensibility in how to position CBS News strategically for the coming years.

The three network evening newscasts have long defied predictions of their demise and are collectively watched by more than 20 million viewers a night. It is notoriously hard to change viewing habits at that time, and the pecking order of NBC in first, ABC in second and CBS in third has essentially been unchanged for more than a decade.