The No. 1 broadcast network delivered a welcome jolt of energy to its day in the TCA press-tour spotlight when CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, one of network TV's most boisterous showmen and champions, took the stage Monday morning for the first time since 2005 (filling in at the last minute for entertainment president Nina Tassler, called away for a friend's funeral). Bluntly bullish on CBS's prospects for the new season ("We're confident we're going to be up this year"), Moonves credited stability as a primary factor for the network's long-term success.
"It's great to be able to renew 20 shows. It really is. ... When you can do that, it makes it easier to launch shows when you're launching them in positions that are behind successful shows. Obviously, it doesn't work all the time [RIP, Vegas and Golden Boy], but it leads to a degree of being able to win year after year." Moonves suggested the streak won't last forever, pointing to NBC's fall from grace when it couldn't find new hits to replace Friends and ER. But given the lackluster state of so much of this new fall season, it's hard to imagine any rival unseating CBS anytime soon.
CBS CEO Leslie Moonves wants to make one thing clear: The network didn't let NCIS' Cote de Pablo leave the show without putting up a fight.
"We offered Cote de Pablo a lot of money, and then we offered her even more money," Moonves told reporters at the Television Critics Association fall TV previews Monday. "We really didn't want to lose her. We love her; we think she was terrific. ... Ultimately she decided she didn't want to do the show."
Cote de Pablo exiting NCIS
De Pablo announced her exit earlier this month, one week before the show was scheduled to begin production on its upcoming 11th season. She expressed her gratitude to the show and its cast and crew and said she would return for a few episodes to end her character's story. But how could CBS lose the leading lady of the No. 1 show on television?
"It was purely her decision," Moonves continued. "NCIS was the highest-rated show on television last year. 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."
Some other highlights from Moonves' executive session....
Season 8 of Dexter will be its last — according to Les Moonves.
During Monday's Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference, Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS Corp., which owns Showtime, made a remark about the drama starting its final season this summer.
Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco sent a sponsored tweet endorsing Dish Network, even as her employer is suing the satellite provider, TheWrap.com reports.
CBS joined ABC, Fox and NBC in filing a lawsuit against Dish over a feature on its Hopper service, which allows users to watch shows like The Big Bang Theory without commercials...
After having to fire and replace Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men back in 2011, CBS CEO Les Moonves says the current controversy surrounding co-star Angus T. Jones is "a piece of cake" by comparison.
"We took this boy who started with us when he was eight years old, and it seems to be what happens with child stars over the course of time," Moonves said...