Updated from 4:56 p.m. EDT
A legendary career in broadcasting has ended in disgrace: The I-Man is no more.
announced Thursday that it fired radio shock jockey Don Imus in response to the furor that was ignited by racist comments he made on the air last week.
The announcement follows the decision from
NBC Universal to end its simulcast of "Imus in the Morning" on its cable news network,
. It also comes after a host of advertisers, like
, pulled their spots from the show.
"From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy and talent," said CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, in a statement.
"Those who have spoken with us the last few days represent people of goodwill from all segments of our society -- all races, economic groups, men and women alike," he continued. "In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society. That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision, as have the many emails, phone calls and personal discussions we have had with our colleagues across the CBS Corporation and our many other constituencies."
The Imus show is produced by CBS' WFAN radio station in New York and syndicated by
. With its unique mix of news, politics, music, sports, advocacy and raunchy humor, the show commanded an audience of 10 million radio listeners and 350,000 TV viewers that were seen by advertisers as both sophisticated and affluent. Still, the removal of the show
isn't likely to have a major impact on CBS' financials.
Trouble began for Imus last week when he referred to Rutgers University's women's basketball team on the air as "nappy-headed hos." The comments created a public firestorm, prompting repeated apologies from Imus and calls from prominent black activists, such as the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, for his firing.
On Tuesday, Sharpton and others renewed calls for Imus to be fired, and the Rutgers women's basketball team and its coach condemned Imus' remarks as racist and sexist and blamed him for ruining the celebration of their outstanding season.
The team has agreed to meet with Imus to hear a personal apology, but their reaction to the meeting will not save his job. Some observers have speculated that Imus could go to satellite radio, following in the footsteps of his shock-jock rival, Howard Stern.
Stern left CBS for
Sirius Satellite Radio
, but part of Imus' appeal has been the roster of prominent politicians and media stars that frequented his show to peddle their books and discuss the news. Given the controversy of the last week, it's unlikely that many of those figures will want to make appearances with Imus again.
Shares of CBS closed up 42 cents, or 1.4%, to $31.41.