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TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Confident NFL Will Extend One-Year Thursday Football Deal

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 5:02pm PDT

TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Confident NFL Will Extend One-Year Thursday Football Deal“This is the program we know is going to be on the air for many, many years,” CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said of his network’s new Thursday NFL package, to TV critics he noted have slogged through about two weeks of Q&A’s for new TV series,  almost all of which will die quick deaths — “even ours.”

“This, however, is a sure thing,” Moonves boasted at his Q&A session at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014. “This is the single best product on television anywhere.”

That said, the deal is a one-year pact only, after which the NFL could take all that increased awareness CBS has ginned up for the franchise and slap it back on NFL Network exclusively. “We have not made a determination beyond one year,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when asked this afternoon if he’d commit to more. “We made the decision knowing it’s a short term, for what we think is a long-term strategy to build Thursday night [for NFL]. We believe the awareness of Thursday football will go up significantly,” he said, stating the obvious.

“We knew going in this was a one-year deal,” Moonves jumped in. “It’s our job to show the NFL what we can do. And we’re confident they’re going to feel like CBS did a tremendous job; we’re confident after this year is over they’ll sit down and hopefully give us a longer deal than that,” he said. Read More »

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Upfronts’ Longest Traditions: A Breakfast, A Dinner And Midnight Karaoke

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 11:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Upfronts2014_badge__140505214755 (1)It seems like Jimmy Kimmel’s annual roast has been a highlight of the upfronts forever. It’s been around for a while — Kimmel has been insulting networks, executives and ad buyers alike for the past 12 years. But it is not the longest upfront tradition, not by a long stretch.

LoxIn 1996, in his first upfront at CBS as president of entertainment, Leslie Moonves, ever the showman, gathered journalists the morning of the network upfront presentation for a breakfast where he revealed the fall schedule. It became an annual thing, and 19 upfronts later, it still is going strong. Some things have changed — Moonves runs CBS Corp. now, and the magnet board has been replaced by a computer. But the schedule unveiling ceremony and the menu — bagels and lox — have remained the same, and Moonves is still there every year to kick things off.

Related: Upfronts 2014: Comedy Sputters, Diversity & Adaptations Flourish; Other Trends, Oddities

lugerA year earlier, in 1995, the Endeavor agency was less than 2 months old. Co-founders Ari Emanuel and Rick Rosen went to the upfronts to see clients — Rosen staying with his uncle, Emanuel with friends. People took them out to dinner the first two nights but on the third, they were on their own. With no money, their options were very limited. Rosen had a Peter Luger credit card, so they decided to go the Brooklyn steakhouse for dinner where they were joined by fellow Endeavor co-founder David Greenblatt, Dean Valentine, then president of Walt Disney TV, and attorney Jim Jackoway. From five, the dinner party grew to 10 the following year and soon became a tradition. It never expanded too much — 135 attended this year’s 20th anniversary dinner — but that is by design. The organizers keep the event exclusive — open only to top-level network and studio executives as well as clients with new shows. That exclusivity has made the Endeavor — now WME Peter Luger dinner — one of the hottest tickets during upfronts.

Related: Upfronts 2014: The Overachievers

karaokeGoing back even further, to the early 1990s (some pinpoint the year as 1994), then-NBC SVP Primetime Series Jamie Tarses decided to throw a karaoke party on Sunday, the night before the NBC upfront presentation. Organized with the help of her assistant (now Amblin TV co-head Justin Falvey), the party was held late Sunday night at a karaoke place in Koreatown, attended by fellow NBC executives like Karey Burke, Flody Suarez and Steve McPherson. Read More »

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Leslie Moonves: CBS Working On 24-Hour Digital News Channel — Not Working On Bringing Joel McHale To Late-Night TV

By | Thursday May 15, 2014 @ 3:49pm PDT

LeslieMoonvesCBS Corp Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves is working on a 24-hour digital news network — but is not working on bringing Joel McHale to take over at host of Late Late Show. Moonves announced today, via an interview with Bloomberg Television, that he plans to launch a 24-hour digital news network, bypassing cable. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to do a 24-hour digital channel taking all the resources that CBS News has … all over the world?” he asked, rhetorically. “There is so much information that we get every day that doesn’t fit into a 22-minute newscast at 6:30 or CBS This Morning. We can go direct digital. So that’s in the early stages, under the tutelage of David Rhodes, the President of CBS News, and it’s an exciting alternative to cable news.”

Related: Networks Play It Safe, Lead-Ins Rule On 2014 Fall Schedule: Full Grid & Top Face-Offs

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Neil Patrick Harris Discussed, Dismissed CBS Late Night Show, But Still Talking About Variety Show With Network

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 4:19pm PDT

Neil Patrick HarrisCBS CEO Leslie Moonves asked Neil Patrick Harris if he’d be interested in doing a late-night show for CBS, Harris said today on Howard Stern’s radio show. The conversation happened before David Letterman announced he is retiring next year but as CBS already was looking at a possible future without Letterman, should Dave decide not to renew his two-year contract. The conversation also happened as Harris’ How I Met Your Mother gig was winding down. Harris has become a member in good standing of the Les Moonves Repertoire Theatre, not only starring in HIMYM but also becoming a CBS go-to guy for trophy-show hosting. Harris stressed to Stern that he was “not in conversation like about-to-make-a-deal — but they called me in and sat me down and asked if it was something I’d be interested in, because I have a good relationship with them from How I Met Your Mother.
Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Colbert Hire

Harris’ reaction when the subject was broached in a meeting with Moonves and CBS programming chief Nina Tassler? “I felt like I knew what my skill set was and what I wanted to do after the show, with them. It surprised me [Moonves] pitched me that idea. I sat for a time with it while I was talking to him, and I told him what concerned me about the longevity of that kind of gig. I think I would get bored of the repetition fast. The structure is so set — I don’t have any interest in doing Monologue, Commercial, Sketch, Guest, Guest, Musical Act, Good Night.” Read More »

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CBS Corp CEO’s Wife Starts Joel McHale ‘Late Late Show’ Rumor With Early-Morning Tweet

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 12:04pm PDT

CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves saw his wife, Julie Chen upstage his new primetime schedule announcement today with her early-morning tweet of photo showing Les — or, as she called him, “my hubby” –  “hanging with the hilarious @joelmchale” – which McHale, whose NBC comedy Community got canceled earlier in the week — quickly retweeted, and…well, you know what follows. (McHale has been pegged as a guy in search of a late-night talk show — he currently hosts E!’s The Soup.)

Naturally, industry navel-lint gazers took Chen’s strategically timed tweet to mean Les would, today at CBS’s Carnegie Hall Upfront presentation, announce McHale is replacing Craig Ferguson on his network’s late-night schedule. If so, that would bring to 2 the number of Comics Who Bombed At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner who have been signed by Les to take over CBS late-night franchises — Stephen Colbert being the other:

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CBS Pre-Upfront Breakfast: Les Moonves & Co. Talk About ‘HIMYD’ Non-Order, Monday Comedy Block Downsize & Future Of ‘CSI’

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 6:00am PDT

cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522CBS is the only broadcaster that still invites the press to breakfast in order to reveal/pitch its primetime plans for next season. It has become an Upfront Week tradition. CBS also is the network that most closely guards its schedule for maximum drama at the breakfast. Here’s how it went:

9 AM ET: CBS Corp chief Leslie Moonves: “The only thing I’m gonna say — when did all the late-night guys start being the arbiters, the ones being fed the lines.. certainly not going to have TCA Summer Press Tour 2013Dave come out and put down other networks. I liked it much better when network execs put down other networks,” he said, noting in particular how much he loved nicking Jeff Zucker when Zucker ran NBC. That said, Les give Jimmy Kimmel’s seventh-inning stretch during ABC’s upfront presentation a thumbs up.

Related: CBS 2014 Schedule

“This really is the best era in the history of television — right now… a great time to be in the television business….We love the fact so many of the Silicon Valley companies are getting into production — not so easy!” Les says.

“We are going to have 90 hours of original programming in the summer. The September to May doesn’t quite work the way it used to.” Moonves says CBS’ summer series Under The Dome was the most-watched new drama of the television season, beating NBC’s The Blacklist. As part of that strategy, CBS is officially retiring the term “midseason,” chairman Nina Tassler says. Read More »

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Big Media Moguls With Out-Of-Whack Compensation: Exclusive Deadline List

Highest Paid Media ExecutivesHere’s a question to ask yourself if you aren’t sure whether media mogul pay reflects merit or cronyism: Did Viacom and CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone deserve $93M, an 80% year-over-year increase, in the combined compensation he received from the companies in 2013? The answer to this query, and others like it, seems especially relevant here in Deadline’s fourth annual effort to try to make sense of the outsized sums media companies pay their leaders. They’re among the most lavishly compensated in corporate America where CEOs made 206 times what the average worker did in 2011, up from 26.5 times in 1978, economist Thomas Piketty notes in his surprise bestselling new book about growing wealth disparities. Compensation 1That strikes many as fundamentally unfair: The California legislature is weighing a bill that would raise tax rates for companies that give their CEOs more than 100 times the average pay for their workers.

Here’s our contribution to the discussion: a tally of the highest-paid executives in media, with metrics and analysis to help you decide what they’re worth. The chart on the right (click to enlarge) shows media execs whose compensation exceeded $10M in 2013 according to company proxies. Below you’ll find our in-depth look at the top 11 earners on the list. Why 11? That enables us to add Rupert Murdoch, who shouldn’t be left out of any discussion of media wealth and power. Those in this Group of 11 collectively made $448.6M in 2013, +15.6% vs 2012, with their median pay  +8.3% to $32.5M.

Related:
Out Of Whack – 2012
Out Of Whack — 2011
Out Of Whack — 2010

One of the things you’ll see is how much Redstone contributes to the high level of executive pay in media. He and other leaders at corporations he controls occupy four of the 11 spots on our list. That has a ripple effect: All companies represented here (with a caveat, discussed below, for News Corp) include Viacom and CBS in the list of peers against which they benchmark pay for their own execs. And Redstone isn’t all that unusual. You frequently see high pay at enterprises, like many in media, run by families that own little equity but control decision-making by virtue of their supervoting shares.

Boards usually justify their high outlays by pointing to metrics of company success, which they credit to the CEOs. But while those on this list are smart and shrewd, it’s worth asking how much of their good fortune — including their rising stock prices — also represents good luck. Keep in mind that all of the media powers represented by this year’s top 11 own broadcast and/or pay TV channels. Cable and satellite companies complain that these programmers have oligopoly power to raise prices on distributors. Many are aggressively doing so, which distributors say pressures them to raise your rates. Programmers also benefit from a new source of cash: license fees from digital services including Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Executive compensation payOur list and the charts that follow include Deadline’s annual Out-of-Whack analysis. It illustrates not only that CEOs make vastly more than the public. Some boards are far more generous to the top dog than they are to others in the C-suite. That could be a sign that directors are in the CEO’s pocket, or lack confidence in their executive bench, many corporate governance experts say. In any case, research shows that lopsided outlays promote groupthink, damage morale, and often depress a company’s stock price. It’s a judgement call as to how much of a disparity is too much. Yet those who track the phenomenon typically become alarmed when a CEO makes more than three times the median for the four other top execs whose income must be disclosed to shareholders per SEC rules. Eighteen of the 30 companies we monitor and that have filed information for 2013 failed the test, often miserably, up from 14 out of 31 last year. Read More »

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IRS Says CBS Can Convert Billboard Business Into Real Estate Investment Trust

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:04pm PDT

CBSOutdoorCBS shares are up 1.6% while CBS Outdoor Americas — the billboard company that the broadcaster spun off earlier this month — is up 6% following the ruling. It means that CBS can save a bundle on taxes later this year when it unloads the 81% interest it still has in the outdoor business.  “CBS Outdoor’s conversion into a REIT will unlock its true value, and the completion of our Outdoor initiatives will enhance our ability to return capital to our shareholders,” CEO Les Moonves says. “We’re very pleased with the way CBS Outdoor has launched as a public company, and with this favorable IRS ruling, we look forward to great success in the future.”

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CBS’ Les Moonves Made $66.9M In 2013, +7.7%

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 1:53pm PDT

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%. Les Moonves headshotThe company just disclosed his pay package in a proxy filing at the SEC and it shows: $3.5M salary, $28.5M bonus, $26.5M stock cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522awards, $5.8M option awards, $1.3M change in pension value, and $1.2M in other compensation. The “other” category includes $533,527 for car and driver, and personal use of the company jet, as well as $531,152 for security. The board credits Moonves for providing “leadership in delivering exceptional results” citing CBS’ strong ratings, retransmission deals with Time Warner Cable and Verizon,  and sales agreements for Under The Dome, Dexter, and The Good Wife. It appears that Executive Chairman Sumner Redstone also gets credit for something: His compensation jumped 82.6% to $57.2M, which the board also attributes to his overseeing CBS in a period when it had “exceptional results.” The board still treats Moonves like a rock star: He accounted for 41% of the compensation that went to the five highest-paid execs. His package is 3.9 times the median for his four closest colleagues (including Redstone). CBS will hold its annual meeting on May 22 in Los Angeles.

Related: … Read More »

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Leslie Moonves Talks New ‘Late Show’ Host Deal, Says Program “More Than Likely” Will Stay On East Coast: Video

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 7:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

late-show-with-colbert-logo_While watching the Final Four in the NCAA championship in Dallas last weekend, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves was on the phone working on Stephen Colbert‘s deal to succeed David Letterman as Late Show host. That’s how quickly CBS brass settled on Colbert as a replacement after Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. “There were other good candidates but he stood out, we knew he would be the greatest replacement for David we could ever get,” Moonves told CBS’ The Early Show this morning (see the clip below). ”And when I called Dave to ask for his blessing he said exactly the same thing. He said I can’t think of anybody even a close second.” Moonves also revealed Colbert’s reaction to the news he had been chosen for the job. “He kept thanking me for this opportunity and telling me he wouldn’t let me down.”

Related: Leslie Moonves Takes ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

Moonves indicated the transition — he called it “once-in-a-generation change” –  will likely happen after the end of next season, saying that Letterman will stay on for “at least another year.” As for where the show will be based, Moonves noted that Colbert is a New Yorker, so “it is more than likely it will be on the East Coast.” The network has been the subject of Read More »

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Rush Limbaugh Says CBS Has “Assaulted American Values” With Hire Of Stephen Colbert: Video

stephen_colbert__120216081730Today’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.

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

“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

Read More »

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CBS Corp. Boss Leslie Moonves Takes A ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Victory Lap

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 2:05pm PDT

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198CBS 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 stevencolbert11believe how many people watch NCIS?”) has, overnight become the hottest girl at the whole damned dance.

Related: Stephen Colbert Reacts To ‘Late Show’ Hire

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. TCA Summer Press Tour 2013I’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.

Related: David Letterman On Stephen Colbert’s Hire

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.

Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet Despite Practically Perfect Stephen Colbert Hire

Read More »

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David Letterman Talks About Phoning Les Moonves And The Real Reason He’s Quitting: Video

After yesterday’s face-slap announcement that he will retire next year, David Letterman told his Late Show audience tonight, “A year from now, I’ll be on a beach with a metal detector.” He also mentioned getting an unexpected response when he called CBS chief Leslie Moonves to tell him the news. And as for Letterman’s longtime makeup person — well, have a look for yourself:

Related:
Who Will Inherit David Letterman’s Late-Night Seat?
David Letterman Through The Years: Video
LA Mayor Urges CBS To Bring Letterman Successor’s Show To West Coast

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UBS Confab: Les Moonves Retreats From Prediction About C7 Ad Sales In 2014

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 1:41pm PST

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),Les Moonves headshot 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.”

Related: Moonves Wants Advertisers To Pay For Live-Plus-30-Days Viewing Read More »

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Aereo Loses Les Moonves Deposition Bid For Second Time

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 4:25pm PDT

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). Read More »

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Were Consumers The Biggest Losers In The CBS-Time Warner Cable Dispute?

By | Tuesday September 3, 2013 @ 10:42am PDT

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. Read More »

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UPDATE: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Takes Swipe At Time Warner Cable With Verizon Retrans Announcement

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.)

Related: Time Warner Cable Sued Over CBS Blackouts

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.”

Related: TWC Offers Free Tennis Channel Preview In Blackout Areas

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: Read More »

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TCA: Les Moonves Latest Exec To Try To Explain CW To TV Critics

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 10:43am PDT

No matter how many times execs at the CW, and at its co-owner CBS, explain to TV critics that the model for CW is different than for a traditional broadcast network, and no matter how many times they describe that CW is just one of many platforms for the network’s programming, the media continues to mull how can the lights possibly stay on at CW given its itty-bitty ratings. Itty bitty as in: Were CW a cable network, no one would think twice over — especially if one of the shows was written by Lena Dunham. Anyway, this morning it was CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves’ turn to take the question, appearing at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 to fill in for CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler, who had to bow out for personal reasons. Appearing onstage at the tour for the first time since 2005, Moonves showed he hadn’t lost his touch — first nicking the TV critic who asked the question for having prefaced it with a beauty-pageant question about CBS network’s great season.  “So, one softball, and one pitch thrown straight at my head?” Moonves snarked jovially. He then explained patiently that while CW may run in the red, the two companies that own the network, CBS and Warner Bros, also produce virtually all the shows and CW is just one … Read More »

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TCA: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves: “We Offered Cote de Pablo A Lot of Money — And Then We Offered Even More”

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 10:05am PDT

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”.

Related: TCA: Moonves Appalled by ‘Big Brother’ Racial Slurs But Defends Show Casting Read More »

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