I wonder if ABC got Al Sharpton’s endorsement on this decision. Don Imus, whose racially-charged description of the Rutgers womens’ basketball team not only got him fired but started a backlash against rap music, has reached an accommodation with CBS that will bring him back to the airwaves on its rival station:
Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract and is negotiating with WABC radio to resume his broadcasting career there, according to CBS and a person familiar with the negotiations.
Imus and CBS Radio “have mutually agreed to settle claims that each had against the other regarding the Imus radio program on CBS,” the network said in a statement Tuesday. …
CBS confirmed only that the settlement had been reached. The person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press that Imus is taking steps to make a comeback with WABC. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details had not been announced, also said the deal with CBS calls for a “non-disparaging” agreement that forbids the parties from speaking negatively about each other.
So now ABC will have Imus, while CBS has … Boomer Esiason. WFAN, where Imus broadcasted his show, just announced that they have signed the former NFL star to Imus’ old slot. CBS wound up settling a $120 million lawsuit and only got a quarterback.
Imus shouldn’t have been fired in the first place. That kind of violaton traditionally gets a suspension, and a few weeks off without pay would have been just and fair. What he said was rude, crude, and indefensible, but it’s hardly on the same level as sending couples into St. Patrick’s Cathedral and live broadcasting their, er, coupling. It was thoughtless and stupid and showed that Imus has some issues, but it wasn’t the equivalent of donning a white sheet and going on a night ride, as Sharpton and others suggested.
ABC thinks that a market exists for Imus. Let’s let the market decide whether they’re correct.