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Posts Tagged ‘Les Moonves’

Les Moonves: ‘It’s good to be back’ on Time Warner Cable

A month ago, when CBS stations first went dark for Time Warner Cable customers, CBS CEO Les Moonves told the LA Times that they were “at war” with the cable company.

As the blackout persisted, the rhetoric only heated up. Now that a deal is done (just in time for the US Open finals and the start of the NFL season), Moonves is striking a more friendly tone toward the company he was at war with, while still acknowledging the rough month.

“This has been a difficult time for our viewers and for CBS. I am glad it’s behind us,” Moonves wrote to staff. “After a terrific summer of programming, we now all look forward to the new television season. It’s good to be back.”

The good news for CBS is that ratings were not significantly affected, though most shows were down slightly. The bad news for consumers is that feuds like these will likely only increase over the next few years, as content companies seek higher carriage fees from cable companies, which in turn are trying to keep prices low so consumers don’t bail on them.

Moonves’ letter to CBS staff, below.
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Les Moonves: ‘Never in my most pessimistic moments’ Could I Have Predicted TWC Stall

This morning the CBS Corporation announced a deal with Verizon Fios to extend their retransmission consent agreement, and to add CBS Sports Network to a lower tier. Following the announcement, CBS CEO Les Moonves sent a note to staff applauding the deal, and sharing some new thoughts on the Time Warner Cable situation.

That memo, which was obtained by TVNewser, shows frustration on the part of Moonves with TWC, and also sheds some light on what may be a sticking point between the two companies.

I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers.

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CBS Pulled From Time Warner Cable, CBS CEO: ‘We Are Now At War’

At midnight ET, after multiple temporary extensions, CBS and Time Warner Cable failed to come to terms on a new retransmission consent agreement, and the companies say CBS feeds will be pulled as soon as possible. Showtime, Flix, The Movie Channel and Smithsonian Channel are also being pulled.

Millions of Time Warner Cable customers will be affected, including those in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas, three of the largest TV markets in the country. As of 12:15 AM, WCBS was still available on Time Warner Cable in New York City.

“We are now at war with Time Warner Cable,” CBS CEO Les Moonves said to the LA Times’ Joe Flint.

“The outrageous demands for fees by CBS Corporation have forced Time Warner Cable to remove several of its networks,” TWC said in a statement. “We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS’s demands are out of line and unfair – and they want TWC to pay more than others.”

Update: Shortly after 12:30 AM Time Warner Cable said in a statement that is returning CBS network signals to subscribers. It is unclear whether this is another temporary extension, or a permanent deal. Stay tuned.

AM Update: CBS will remain available while the two sides continue to negotiate. New deadline is Friday. ”CBS and Time Warner Cable have agreed to continue discussions,” CBS says.

War of Words Between CBS And Time Warner Cable Heats Up

Time Warner Cable and CBS have until 9 AM on Thursday to hammer out a deal to continue carrying the channel, otherwise subscribers of the company will lose access to the broadcast network. The deadline had been Wednesday afternoon, but FCC rules don’t allow blackout during a sweeps period, pushing the deadline to Thursday.

In an email to CBS staff, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that it was a “very real threat” adding  ”as you can imagine, we don’t take this situation lightly.”

If CBS were to be dropped from Time Warner Cable, viewers in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas, among other places, would find themselves without access to the network, and it would almost certainly affect its ratings.

Moguls, Journalists Descend On Sun Valley For Media/Technology Confab

This week, the world’s media, entertainment and technology moguls are converging on Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual Allen & Company shindig. What happens in Sun Valley usually stays in Sun Valley, but according to a number of reporters in attendance, we can glean a few things.

For starters, CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw and CNN’s Erin Burnett are all attending, with Rose and Brokaw scheduled to moderate (secret) panels. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, FBN’s Dennis Kneale and Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman are getting as close as they can to cover the action for their networks.

In terms of moguls, all the usual suspects are there: 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, along with sons Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch (above), Disney’s Bob Iger, ESPN’s John Skipper, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, CBS’ Les Moonves, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IAC’s Barry Diller among many, many others.

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CBS CEO Les Moonves: ‘Great Drama Belongs In Primetime… Not At 7 In The Morning’

CBS is delivering its upfront presentation to advertisers, media buyers and the press this afternoon, and CEO Les Moonves took aim squarely at NBC and “Today” in his opening statement.

“We believe that great drama belongs in primetime between 8-11 PM, not at 7 in the morning,” Moonves quipped, as a photo of Ann Curry and Matt Lauer from Curry’s departure from “Today” appeared on stage behind him (see the photo to the left).

Of course, “CBS This Morning” also had a talent change in the last year, as Erica Hill left (eventually joining NBC) and Norah O’Donnell came on board. That said, the transition was free of drama in front of the cameras.

CBS News was given prime placement at the upfront, with Moonves introducing the division. The CBS CEO said that “under the leadership of Jeff Fager and David Rhodes there is a renaissance going on,” before introducing a clip reel with news from the last year. Scott Pelley and O’Donnell then appeared on stage to talk about CBS News.

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Media Bias Segments On ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ And ‘The Last Word’

Media bias and the press were the subject of two big segments on cable news last night. On FNC’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly sent producer Jesse Watters went to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he asked attendees whether there was bias in the media. Al Roker, Les Moonves, Bob Schieffer, Chris Matthews and Piers Morgan were all among his “victims.”

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On MSNBC ‘s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” the MSNBC host made the White House press corps the subject of his ire. In a lengthy, 16-minute (!) segment, O’Donnell argued that for the American reporters, the conferences “are more about the press than the President.”

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Scott Pelley On Fox News, And The Timelessness Of ’60 Minutes’

As part of its “New York Media” issue (more here), The Hollywood Reporter spoke to “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley, and also profiled the long-running newsmagazine “60 Minutes.”

Pelley speaks kindly of the changes at CBS over the last couple of years, and also has a few words for Fox News, which revealed the real name of h Navy SEAL Pelley interviewed for his story about the Osama Bin Laden raid:

I cannot think of a reason journalistically that you would expose an undercover operator for the United States in that way. I cannot think in any public interest that was served, and now his life is in danger, the lives of all of his family members and extended family are in danger, and I could think of a reason to do that. If the people at Fox have a reason, I’d be awfully interested in hearing it, because I cannot think in any way how the public interest in the United States was served by that.

Marisa Guthrie pens the “60 Minutes” profile, and reveals some interesting behind-the-scenes details about the show, including comments from “60 Minutes” EP and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and CBS CEO Les Moonves.
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Why Byron Pitts Joined ABC News

CBS News veteran Byron Pitts says he jumped ship to ABC for three reasons, in order of importance: “God, diversity and Diane Sawyer.”

Pitts, 52, the lone correspondent of color on “60 Minutes” and a CBS staffer since 1997, officially joined ABC yesterday as chief national correspondent. He begins April 15.

In addition to reporting, Pitts will anchor prime-time news specials as well as fill in as news reader on “Good Morning America” and on weekend news. He signed a four-year deal with a “significant” salary bump, he says.

A devout man, Pitts prays over all major decisions. ABC was no exception. “For me, God is the ultimate closer,” he says. “Once I felt I had His blessing, it was full steam ahead. I’m grateful for my time at CBS, and I’m excited about this opportunity grace has provided.”

In the Gospel According to Pitts, diversity ranks a strong No. 2. In his talks with ABC News president Ben Sherwood, Pitts says he was impressed that Sherwood made a point to bring up his (Sherwood’s) commitment to the hot-button issue.

“It was encouraging to have a network executive talk to me, openly and with enthusiasm, about the importance of racial diversity,” says Pitts. “I never had that conversation at CBS.”

Not with his division leaders, anyway.

Pitts says he and CBS Corp. chieftain Les Moonves have discussed diversity, and he admires Moonves’ passion about it. As for CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager and his lieutenant, David Rhodes, here’s how Pitts puts it:

“I don’t want to seem critical. They were certainly nice and supportive of me. But the facts are the facts. Sixteen years ago, when I joined CBS, there were 10 people of color on the air. Now there are seven. Why is that? It’s discouraging. America is becoming more diverse, not less diverse. “

According to CBS News spokesperson Sonya McNair, CBS has “more than double” Pitts’ estimate of seven correspondents of color. “We wish Byron well,” she adds. ABC News has a total of 29, says division rep David Ford.

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‘CBS This Morning’ Talks Bayou And The Business of the Big Game

Tonight CBS will air the Super Bowl live from New Orleans, Louisiana. Apparently the producers decided that as long as they had everyone down in the Crescent City, why not take advantage?

Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell went on an air boat tour of the Louisiana Bayou, where they came face to face with a gator:

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Also, CBS CEO Les Moonves appeared as a guest, to talk about the business of the Super Bowl:

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