Does any CEO deserve to be paid that much money? That’s a good question to debate, though CBS shareholders might not raise bitter objections about Les Moonves‘ compensation for a year when the value of their shares appreciated 67.5%. …
Today’s news that Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report would end its run at the end of the calendar year and Stephen Colbert would retire the faux conservative TV personality he’s previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” was sad for the conservative TV and radio talking heads who have counted on Colbert over the years to regularly provide them with conversational lighter fluid.
“I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. looking forward to it.,” Colbert said in a statement after CBS announced it had hired Colbert to take over Late Show when David Letterman retires some time in 2015.
On the bright side, it gave one of those pundits something to talk about today. Rush Limbaugh announced today on his syndicated radio show that CBS has “declared war on the heartland of America” by hiring Colbert. (Watch his rant below.)
Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet
CBS is understandably over the moon that it’s landed Stephen Colbert as its new late-night star. With Colbert as its date, the network so long treated by the media as a dinosaur, an afterthought or a curiosity (as in, “Golly gosh, can you believe how many people watch NCIS?”) has, overnight become the hottest girl at the whole damned dance.
Colbert will retire his Comedy Central conservative windbag character — who he has previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” — and become Actual Stephen Colbert when he takes over as host of Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s devastating news for Bill O’Reilly and other conservative TV and radio talking heads who counted on Colbert for material about which to fume and foment. The character looms so large in the talk-show world that Colbert today felt compelled to issue a statement about Faux Colbert’s coming demise, saying: “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it.” CBS Corp chairman Leslie Moonves said it’s unclear how the CBS late-night show will be configured with Colbert as host; in an interview with Deadline today, he expressed no concern about the fictitious character his new star has been playing on the comedy network since 2005.
Asked when would be David Letterman‘s last day as Late Show host and Colbert’s first day, Moonves said no decision had been made and reiterated that the end date was Dave’s to decide.
In March the CBS chief predicted that “within a year” it would be an industry standard for advertisers to pay for the number of viewers who see commercials within a week after they air (called C7), up from three days (or C3). But Leslie Moonves seemed less certain today when he spoke to the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. In next year’s upfront “there’s going to be a lot more C7″ — though it may not be the industry standard. (Earlier today Disney’s Jay Rasulo said it will take longer for the change to take hold.) “I don’t think it’s that hugely significant. … Eventually it’s going to be even greater than C7″ — perhaps going as high as C30. “We may not get paid as much, but you’re selling Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, what’s the difference if you watch now or 22 days from now?” Speaking of the ad market, he says that scatter sales are “fine.” National is “stronger than local, but local is OK.”
Now it really doesn’t look like the streaming service will get to grill the CBS Corp boss. Less than a week after broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court over Aereo, a NY-based federal judge today denied the Barry Diller-backed company’s second attempt at winning permission to depose Les Moonves. Aereo wanted restrictions that Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman put on the scope of its discovery in the 18-month-old copyright infringement case lifted, including access to a wide range of documents. It also wants to park the rarely reticent Moonves in front of its lawyers because he “has made public statements regarding the claims in this case, including comments that contradict sworn CBS testimony,” according to its filing earlier this year. Reaffirming Pitman’s ruling of June 4, District Judge Alison Nathan today said no way. “Nothing in the record suggests that the rulings were clearly erroneous or contrary to law, or that the substantial deference due to the resolution of discovery disputes by a magistrate judge should not be accorded in the instant matter,” she said in her order (read it here).
It sure looks that way. Millions of Time Warner Cable customers lost CBS-owned stations and channels for a month, and will still probably see their monthly rates rise to accommodate the deal that the companies made last night. But what did you expect? Since August 2, when CBS stations, Showtime and other channels went dark on TWC systems, virtually everyone knew that the distributor would have to cry “uncle” before the NFL season begins. Although the companies are tightlipped about the terms of their new deal, that seems to be what happened. CBS’ Les Moonves signaled to everyone that he believes he prevailed on the financial terms. “We are receiving fair compensation for CBS content and we also have the ability to monetize our content going forward on all the new, developing platforms that are right now transforming the way people watch television,” he says. No wonder investors have sent the broadcaster’s shares +4.3% in mid-day trading vs a 1.2% increase for TWC.
The cable company’s believed to have been paying around 55 cents per month for each subscriber who receives a CBS-owned station. Under the new deal, the cable company’s outlays will rise to $1.50 in 2014, and $1.90 in 2016, Davenport & Co analyst Michael Morris estimates. TWC also will pay higher amounts to offer CBS programming on VOD and digital platforms including its TV Everywhere offering. Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker says that CBS even could receive retroactive payments for the last month which is “rare when stations go dark.” All told, the deal will be “a positive catalyst for CBS and broadcast,” Ryvicker says.
UPDATE, 7:50 AM: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves says the deal CBS just signed with Verizon‘s FiOS TV in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, among other markets, is virtually identical to the one offered to Time Warner Cable. “This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began,” Moonves said pointedly in a memo to staff this morning. “You should know that Time Warner Cable has been offered almost exactly the same deal for CBS carriage to which Verizon has agreed.” TWC is entirely to blame for the “lack of urgency” on its retrans talks with the network, Moonves said. The Verizon deal gives FiOS over-the-air retrans rights; it does not cover digital rights. (Moonves’ full memo after the original story.)
PREVIOUS, AM: Three weeks into its battle with Time Warner Cable, CBS — blacked out on TWC in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas — has announced it had reached a new deal for continued retransmission of CBS-owned stations and wider distribution of CBS Sports Network on Verizon’s FiOS TV in multiple markets nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. “This important deal was reached swiftly and amicably in just a few days after our conversations began,” CBS chairman Leslie Moonves said pointedly in a memo to staff. The Verizon deal includes all of the approximately 3.5 million subscribers served in markets where CBS owns TV stations. FiOS has about 5 million subs total. (CBS and Verizon already had an existing deal for FiOS to carry its Showtime and Smithsonian networks.) “We’ve reached this agreement in partnership with CBS for our customers, so that they may continue to enjoy CBS content on FiOS,” Verizon VP Video Content and Strategy added, pointedly. “Verizon continues to address areas of change where necessary in current policies to better reflect the interests of consumers.”
The announcement comes the morning after CBS and TWC had a mini-breakthrough in their retransmission head-butting. In New York City, both parties agreed to un-black-out Channel 2 for debates for mayor and comptroller. (The debates will also air on channel 75, a backup arrangement CBS made before the mini-truce was struck). Here’s this morning’s CBS/Verizon announcement:
TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves: “We Offered Cote de Pablo A Lot of Money — And Then We Offered Even More”
CBS tried hard to keep Cote de Pablo on its most-watched series NCIS, Leslie Moonves said during the network’s TCA executive session today. “We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money — and then we offered even more money,” he explained. “We didn’t want to lose her.” In a surprise announcement earlier this month, the network and the actress said she would appear only in enough episodes of the upcoming 11th season to fill out her Ziva David character’s storyline and then leave the show. The announcement she was leaving, after eight years on the hit drama, came as a surprise earlier this month. This morning, Moonves said the decision came as the network was in discussions with the rest of the cast, “and the producers were aware of what was going on. NCIS is the highest-rated show on TV. We did everything possible to keep her — she ultimately decided she didn’t want to do the show”.
“I find some of the behavior absolutely appalling,” CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said this morning of this season’s competition series Big Brother, which has been in the news over the racial slurs some of the competitors have been spewing at housemates. The season is reflective “of how many people feel in the country,” he suggested, noting, “I’ve watched every episode — obviously, my wife would kill me if I didn’t — we discuss it quite a bit (Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen hosts).” He insists the network has handled the season “appropriately.” Asked what he and Chen say about this season on the show, Moonves shot back, “I’m not going to tell you what goes on in my home.”
Moonves, who was filling in for CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler at the network’s TCA press tour executive session today, acknowledged he is still hands-on with the network’s reality competition series casting, and utterly dismissed a critics’ suggestion the Big Brother edition is evidence that “casting tries too hard.” “You don’t want wallflowers on reality show,” he said. “They are social experiments — trying too hard? I don’t think there’s any such thing.”
At the top of his Press Tour appearance, Moonves announced CBS had picked up another season of Stephen King’s summer miniseries Under The Dome and that King would write the first episode. When one critic noted people can’t survive under a dome indefinitely, Moonves wondered why not. “This is television! It’s a soap…In a lot of ways it’s Dallas in the future,” he said. The Amazon deal makes that show possible, Moonves said. “The whole model of putting on a big summer show has changed. We had to figure out financially how to put on a show of that size and scale. It came down to, the network license fee had to be small. There was a huge international sale and the participation of Amazon. We had to make a deal like never before.” The international market has become increasingly important, particularly for drama financing, Moonves explained, claiming it has, at CBS, jumped from “about $400 million” to “$1.2 billion” in six years.
The sun finally came back to a windy and rainy Cannes but the weather clearly couldn’t slow the nonstop parties, premieres, deals and hype for which this festival is famous. And despite the rain on Saturday the turnout for Lionsgate’s big Catching Fire bash was wall-to-wall at Baoli Beach, with everyone including star Jennifer Lawrence crowded into the large tent. One exec there actually was happy with the monsoon-like conditions. “The rain probably kept 30% of our RSVPs away which is probably good because i don’t know how we could have squeezed them in,” he said.
With everyone drying out Sunday there seemed to be even more party-hopping than usual. At the crowded Participant Films party at the Carlton, Focus Features CEO James Schamus was accepting congratulations on his re-upping at the company. I have rarely heard him wax more eloquently about a film than Focus’ recent pickup of The Dallas Buyers Club, the movie where Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play an early AIDS victim. It’s not dated yet according to Schamus but is planned for fall sometime. “It’s just a bloodbath trying to pick the right date in that period but this movie is extraordinary. I just so admire what Matthew has been doing with his career in the last couple of years between Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud and now this. You know me, I don’t rave like this a lot, but he really knocks this one out of the park. It is the performance of a lifetime,” he says of the actor in a film that is sure to be a main focus of Focus’ awards-season plans.
David Letterman is well known for shunning public events like CBS’ upfront. But in the midst of big late-night changes at NBC and ABC, the veteran late-night host showed up at the CBS presentation for the first time in 15 years. CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves broached the subject. “What’s going on out there in late-night? All of a sudden, everybody’s got a Jimmy: they have a Jimmy, they have a Jimmy,” referring to NBC’s and ABC’s new 11:30 PM hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, respectively. “We thought we don’t have a Jimmy. Jimmy Buffet is too tropical, Jimmy Carter too political, Jimmy Hoffa not available. There are a lot of Jimmys out there but there is only one Dave, David Letterman.” Letterman walked out to a thunderous applause and engaged in a looong hug with Moonves. “I’m honored to be here for your pledge drive,” Letterman quipped, proceeding to make fun of CBS head of sales Joanne Ross’ projection dress. “Everyone here is very excited to see me, they think I’m Bob Schieffer. When Leslie invited me here, I thought I was being fired.”
Related: CBS 2013-14 Schedule
Six more names were formally inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences‘ distinguished Hall Of Fame on Monday night in front of a packed audience at the Beverly Hilton. Joining the 140-plus TV legends who are already members were Les Moonves, Ron Howard, Al Michaels, Bob Schieffer, Dick Wolf and, at long last, a posthumous recognition of TV inventor Philo T. Farnsworth. Among those on the selection committee this year were Marcy Carsey, Bonnie Hammer, Rick Rosen, Fred Silverman and Nina Tassler.
Easily the highest honor the Academy can bestow (Full disclosure: I am a member of the Board Of Governors repping the Writers Branch), these new inductees can count on seeing their busts enshrined in front of the Academy’s North Hollywood headquarters, immortalized forever. But last night’s (ironically) non-televised event was a loose and lively affair that had a warm feeling and might be called the TV Acad’s version of the Motion Picture Academy’s Governors Awards. It was a heartfelt shout-out to some of TV’s most accomplished names, and the move to the larger Beverly Hilton International Ballroom this year confirmed its growning importance to the community. Tickets were higher priced and more industryites showed than in recent years. For instance, even though they weren’t there as part of the show, Mark Harmon, James Burrows, Chuck Lorre, Michael Eisner and George Lucas in addition to many others were among the audience members cheering on the new inductees.
NoHo Arts District, Calif. – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Committee has selected a distinguished group of television innovators and icons to be inducted into the 22nd Hall of Fame. Additionally, for the first time ever, this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony will benefit the Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television.
This year’s honorees include Emmy®-winning actor/director/producer Ron Howard, legendary sportscaster Al Michaels, iconic network executive Leslie Moonves, acclaimed journalist Bob Schieffer and prolific writer-producer Dick Wolf. Additionally, Philo T. Farnsworth, credited with inventing all-electronic television transmission, will be inducted posthumously. The inductees will be honored during a gala ceremony at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 11, 2013, which is sponsored by Audi®. The Hall of Fame gala will be executive produced by noted television producer Phil Gurin (Oh Sit!, Shark Tank, The Singing Bee).
Leslie Moonves will be at the helm of CBS Corp for at least five more years. As had been speculated, the company announced today that Moonves has signed a new agreement to continue as president and CEO through June 30, 2017. Moonves’ existing contract was to expire in February 2015 and gave him an option to segue into a role as an executive adviser or CBS-based producer at the end of his term. That contract has now been ripped up and replaced by the new one, which also provides an option for Moonves to become a CBS executive adviser for four years and launch a CBS-funded production company when it’s up. The new contract will bring Moonves’ tenure at CBS to 22 years — he joined the broadcast network in 1995 as president of entertainment. “Leslie’s record as a CEO is not only among the best in media, it’s among the best in all of business,” said Sumner Redstone, CBS Corp’s executive chairman and founder. “This agreement secures the Company even further into the future, and it also further aligns and strengthens the interests of the chief executive with those of our shareholders.”