Les Moonves, President and CEO of the CBS Corporation, met with TV critics on the CBS portion of the TV critics tour to talk about the state of the network. It’s easy for an executive to face the media when you have as much success as CBS. But, despite being such a strong force in network TV, even CBS has some problems that Moonves has to face. Here’s what he had to say:
On some of the negative comments that have been made on the reality competition show “Big Brother”:
Leslie Moonves: “ ‘Big Brother,’ obviously, is a social experiment. It was established as a social experiment. Clearly that’s what’s happening this year. I find some of the behavior absolutely appalling, personally. What you see there, I think, unfortunately, is reflective of how certain people feel in America. It’s what our show is. I think we’ve handled it properly. Obviously, a lot of it makes us uncomfortable. We do discuss it quite a bit. I think we are handling it appropriately.
On the departure of Coto de Pablo from “NCIS”:
LM: “We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money because we really didn’t want to lose her. We love her. We think she was she was terrific. And we, obviously, were in discussions. And the rest of the cast and the producers were aware what’s going on. And ultimately she decided she didn’t want to do the show. It was purely her decision. We’re, obviously, getting a lot of emails. There’s a lot of Twitter buzz about her, and rightly so. She’s a wonderful lady. We don’t like losing anybody. But we did everything humanly possible. We feel like we exhausted every opportunity, and she just decided she didn’t want to do the show.
On the importance of international TV markets:
LM: “International has always been a part of the discussions. International is a major, major part of our business. Six or seven years ago, our international revenue was about $400 million. Last year it was a billion two.
On the new comedy “The Crazy Ones” using McDonald’s as part of the story:
LM: “It was brought to us from David Kelley. McDonald’s didn’t receive any money. They were part of the show, et cetera. When we discussed with them, obviously anything they do would have to be worked out with sales, but there’s going to be a lot of fictional products in there as well. It’s more about the relationship inside that office with the father and daughter than it is about the product.
On the future of David Letterman:
LM: “I consider David Letterman the best guy in late night. I think Leno is great. I think Kimmel is great. I think Fallon is great. We love having David Letterman. He’s the dean. He’s the best there is. Other than Johnny Carson, he’s probably the best that ever was. We like the stability. We like the relationship we have with Dave. He’s our guy, and despite what people think, we don’t like drama at 11:30.”