CBS, the home of the most storied news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its newsgathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.
Over the last decade, CNN has held on-again, off-again talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures but during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who were granted anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.
Broadly speaking, the executives described conversations about reducing CBS's newsgathering capacity while keeping its frontline personalities, like Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News anchor, and paying a fee to CNN to buy the cable network's news feeds.
Another possibility, these people said, would be that CBS would keep its correspondents in a certain region but pair them with CNN crews.
But, these people cautioned, no deal was imminent. Through a spokesman, CBS declined to comment. A CNN spokeswoman said, "we don't comment on speculative business matters."
For CNN, a deal with a broadcast network would mean a new revenue stream without having to add much in additional costs. For CBS, an arrangement with a cable channel would allow it to cut costs while maintaining the CBS News brand, although in a much pared down fashion. CBS is mired in last place amid the continuing struggles of Ms. Couric, who was given a $15-million a year contract, to attract new viewers.