UPDATE, 3:16 PM: Is Les Moonves now, once again, Dan Rather’s boss? Well, a little: Turns out CBS isn’t simply partnering with AXS TV– as the companies framed the arrangement in their announcement today. The network giant has an equity stake in the channel formerly known as HDNet, Moonves told analysts this evening. He didn’t say how much CBS owns of the network which airs Dan Rather Reports or how much it paid, if anything. “Having the power of CBS I’m sure we’ll be able to increase [AXS TV's] affiliate fees, but it won’t be part of our negotiations,” he said. Moonves added that entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s channel will be able to offer “shoulder programming” for live events CBS airs; for example it could have had a show featuring backstage scenes at the Grammy Awards. “It’s a very exciting new prospect for us.” Cuban’s partners at AXS include AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media and Creative Artists Agency.
Here’s the release:
February 14, 2013 (LOS ANGELES) – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) announced today that it has partnered with AXS TV, the leading television network dedicated to broadcasting live events from the worlds of music and pop culture. Launched in July 2012, AXS TV is a joint venture among Mark Cuban Companies, AEG, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and Ryan Seacrest Media, and currently has 38 million subscribers to the service. Originally available in high definition, AXS TV is now also available in a standard definition format.
The announcement was made by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, Tim Leiweke President and CEO of AEG, and Mark Cuban, who will continue to lead the network in his current role as President and CEO of AXS TV. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
The multi-year commitment from CBS provides for promotion and access to content and shoulder programming opportunities, in addition to strategic support.
“CBS is happy to provide AXS TV with live event content as the basis of this partnership,” said Moonves. “This is an innovative way to use our tentpole programming to gain more ownership in the cable network business. AXS TV will now serve as a terrific complement to our existing broadcast television entertainment programming.”
“CBS brings the industry’s best and most respected resources and experience to AXS TV which will accelerate our growth and realization of our vision that, ‘The future of TV is TV,’” commented Cuban.
“It was amazing to see the transformation from HDNet to AXS TV, and now this new partnership with CBS will create a new kind of live entertainment experience for fans,” said Leiweke. “We share Mark’s vision of bringing together the best minds and the best companies in the entertainment space. Nobody does it better than CBS and Les Moonves and I consider him the finest at what he does. Add the power of CBS to ‘the Shark’ – Mark Cuban – and then combine this with AEG and our other partners, and I believe this is not just ‘must see TV,’ it’s ‘can’t miss TV’,” Leiweke added.