Moonves Sees End to Strike in ‘Next Few Months’
CBS Inc. President-CEO Leslie Moonves is “guardedly optimistic” that the writers strike will be over “in the next few months.”
He said there are “some steps being taken to push that ahead,” but didn’t give any details about what those steps might be. The Writers Guild of America went on strike in early November, and has had no negotiations with the AMPTP, which represents networks and studios, since early December.
However, Mr. Moonves said Thursday at Citigroup’s 18th annual Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., that CBS is “fine” through the end of this season.
Mr. Moonves cited such factors as the generally high repeatability of the network’s prime-time schedule, strong ratings performances from such network staples as NFL games and “60 Minutes” recently, a strong scatter market and the fact that even as the ratings that drive revenues decline somewhat as the strike wears on, programming costs will be down more. He declared: “We consider this television season just fine.”
That being said, Mr. Moonves echoed News Corp. President-Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, who addressed the group Wednesday, by describing himself as personally and professionally distressed by the strike but reluctant to make a bad deal just to end it.
On another subject, while there are an increasing number of financial institutions and experts talking about a recession in 2008, Mr. Moonves said, “We have not seen anything” that points to a recession in any of CBS’ businesses, which he said all are showing growth.
“All of our businesses are sound fundamentally,” he said.