Ed Joyce, Former President of CBS News, Dies at 81

10:26 AM PST 08/06/2014 by Mike Barnes

During his tenure from 1983-86, the network saw layoffs, was sued for libel by a U.S. Army four-star general and fended off takeover threats from the likes of Ted Turner.

Ed Joyce, who served as president of CBS News in the mid-1980s during a rather tumultuous time for the division, died Saurday at his home in Redding, Conn., his family announced. He was 81.

His son, Randall Joyce, is a producer at CBS News.

Ed Joyce worked at CBS for almost three decades and was president of CBS News from 1983 until 1986. His time at the top was anything but smooth.

During his tenure, 125 news positions were eliminated; CBS settled a $120 million libel suit brought by Gen. William Westmoreland after a 1982 documentary, The Uncounted Enemy: A Viet Nam Deception, said he had intentionally understated the strength of the enemy in the war; former Miss America Phyllis George was hired as a co-anchor for the CBS Morning News, a move that Joyce later called “a fiasco”; and CBS fended off hostile takeover threats from Ted Turner, Marvin Davis and even 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt and anchorman Dan Rather.

In 1986, Joyce was replaced by Van Gordon Sauter, who had preceded him as CBS News president.

A native of Phoenix, Joyce began his career as an on-air radio personality in several cities. He hosted jazz programs and talk shows and helped introduce the “Newsradio 88” format at WCBS in the late 1960s. Later, Joyce held top posts at CBS TV stations in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to New York in 1981 as executive vp of CBS News.

In 1988, his insider’s tale of his time at CBS, Prime Times, Bad Times, was published.

In addition to his son, survivors include Maureen, his wife of his wife of 64 years, daughter Brenda and five grandchildren.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4

 

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