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CBS CEO Les Moonves Talks Candidly About the Future of Broadcast News, Katie Couric’s Contract

CBS CEO Les Moonves spoke at the University of Texas Monday, where he accepted an award and addressed students.

While there, he commented candidly on the future of broadcast journalism, and the nightly newscasts in particular.

Among other things, Moonves said that the format of the nightly evening newscasts needs to change–and it will happen sooner rather than later.

He said that he could see the evening newscasts structured more like ABC’s “Nightline,” with an in-depth look at one or two subjects, or like the Sunday morning shows, with a round-table of panelists.

Why change them? It is too expensive to support the newscasts as it stands now, and by the time 6:30 PM rolls around, potential viewers already know the days news.

“People are getting the news elsewhere,” he said. “When there were only three networks, you did have that public service component, where we were informing America. Now, there is nothing that Katie Couric is saying that everybody doesn’t know already.”

He also talked about Couric’s nearly $40 million contract:

“The Katie Couric deal will be the last big deal of that kind ever done. … Those days are over, because the news no longer generates the kind of revenue or success that’s worth doing [those contracts].”

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