Environment: Paley's Purge

Losing by winning

It was a happy party at Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant, an occasion for champagne and congratulatory speeches. The top brass of CBS, led by Founder and Chairman William Paley, 79, had gathered to cheer the TV net work's narrow victory over rival ABC and its return to the top of the prime-time ratings chart in the just concluded season.

John Backe, 47, whom Paley had appointed as president in 1976, shared the toasting duties with his boss and warmly hailed the CBS "team effort."

Last week, scarcely a fortnight after that celebration, Backe found himself tossed off the team, summarily fired...

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