Update: CBS And CNN In Talks — Again — To Combine News Operations: Report; CBS Denies

See update below A perennial favorite resurfaces… NYT is reporting that CBS and CNN are in talks to combine their news operations, though the nature of the agreement or the seriousness of the talks is unclear. One version of the agreement would have CBS keep a few star reporters, like Katie Couric, while substantially all of the news gathering would come from CNN. Another would keep some CBS reporters in place, to work alongside CNN crews. There’s no indication that the talks, said to be led by CBS News President Sean McManus and CNN’s Jim Walton, will produce something concrete or imminent. Talk of such a tie-up goes back aways. It was even once a Brill’s Content cover story.

Regardless of where these talks go, CBS has been paring back its commitment to news. Last week there were fresh reports of CBS news layoffs and in December, CBSNews.com was hit hard in a round of layoffs at CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS). We reported at the time that MacManus fought hard to keep CBSNews.com, so hard to see him doing anything that would cede CBS News completely.

Update: For the record, CBS has denied this report to us, as well as other outlets. A spokesperson for the company says: “We’re extremely satisfied with and proud of our newsgathering operation. No outside arrangement is being negotiated.”