CBS cans Imus
Media company cancels controversial shock jock's show a day after MSNBC pulled the plug on TV simulcast.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- CBS said Thursday it fired Don Imus from his radio show after a public outcry regarding slurs he used about the Rutgers' women's basketball team last week.
CBS (Charts), which carried Imus on 61 radio stations, had originally said it would suspend Imus for two weeks starting Monday. But Wednesday, GE (Charts)-owned cable network MSNBC said it would no longer broadcast the simulcast of Imus' radio show.
"From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent," CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement.
"Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of goodwill from all segments of our society - all races, economic groups, men and women alike. In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society," Moonves said.
"That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many e-mails, phone calls and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies," he added.
Rutgers University told CNN it would not comment on CBS' decision. The women's team said at a new conference earlier this week that they planned to meet privately with Imus.
Prominent companies, including Staples, Procter & Gamble, GM and Sprint Nextel, announced in the past few days that they were pulling advertising for the radio or the television show, leading to increased speculation that CBS would also cut ties with Imus.
Many civil rights activists, including Rev. Al Sharpton, called for Imus to be fired because of his remarks, as did Bruce Gordon, a member of CBS' board of directors and former president of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Many politicians who had been guests on Imus' show in the past also said they would no longer appear on the show.
Several Wall Street analysts who cover CBS said Imus' show generated about $20 million in revenue for CBS' radio division in 2006. That accounts for about 1 percent of the radio unit's total sales. The show is syndicated by CBS through Westwood One (Charts), in which CBS owns a minority stake.