Moonves: NBC’s Leno Move Helps CBS

May 7, 2009  •  Post A Comment

CBS CEO Les Moonves said that NBC’s decision to put Jay Leno on in primetime will help his company’s bottom line.
“We were the No. 1 network at 10 o’clock last year,” Mr. Moonves told analysts and investors during CBS’ quarterly earnings conference call Thursday.
He estimated that CBS took in 38% of the broadcast ad revenue available at 10 p.m., and that even if Leno does great for NBC, he expects CBS’ ad revenue share to jump to “45%, maybe 47%.”
“We don’t break out how much each time period is worth, but 10% of an arguably many-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars pie is a lot of money,” Mr. Moonves said. “That’s why we wish Jay well. We think this is a big plus for us and ABC in terms of revenue.”
While NBC turns to a talk show format to lower its primetime costs, CBS said the Writers Guild of America strike spurred it to take steps to rein in how much it spends on programming.
“It caused us to re-look at how we were producing our shows and we’re doing every single one of them in a more economical way,” Mr. Moonves said. “There will not be a show on our schedule next year that won’t have a different cost structure than is currently on the books. I think all of the companies realized they didn’t need as many overall deals to get their product and here we are a year later, up in every single demographic and doing things in a much more productive way.”
CBS also expects to schedule more shows from its own studio.
Mr. Moonves said that while CBS “always puts on the best pilot we have,” pointing to “The Mentalist” from Warner Bros. as an example of a hit from an outside studio, owning a show and getting the syndication revenues as well as the advertising revenue is “a better business.”
Mr. Moonves also said he didn’t feel threatened by Hulu, which last week added video from Walt Disney Co. to its NBC Universal and News Corp. content online.
“We have a different strategy than some of our competitors,” he said. “We like the ability to control our own content, where and when it goes. We don’t like the idea of being exclusive to Hulu.”
Mr. Moonves said that some day, CBS video may appear on Hulu, or content from Hulu might appear on TV.com. But for now, “This gives us the freedom to place our content wherever we want as well as sell it ourselves, along with our other verticals, and so far it’s proving to be extremely successful.”
(Editor: Baumann)


  1. I really hope ABC brings in strong 10pm shows next year and crushes his stupid crime shows. I even think Leno will find an audience at 10pm.

  2. Yeah good luck with that online strategy of yours Mr. Moonves.
    CBS by far has the worst player of the 4 major networks.
    And to not even have some of your most popular shows available for online viewing (Big Bang Theory)…what kind of strategy is that?
    The only shows I watch from CBS now are the ones I can see on Netflix if I happen to miss them.

  3. Eleventh Hour rocks

  4. I’ve noticed for a while 18-35 and 18-49 viewers desert the nets at ten. One day last week it was by the biggest % I’ve ever seen: almost 70%. ABC not CBS is the one with a poor ten pm strategy, I think. The smart thing to do is lock in the ten slot with loyal predictable 35-whatever and 50 and older, produce your own shows cheap and own the syndie rights ( us oldtimers over 35 don’t care about stupid bells and whistles, Murder She Wrote and Columbo, remember?) and let ABC with its what five local affiliates it owns outright go ahead and produce expensive failures, move them from night to night and cancel them after 13 episodes. TV has changed. Our culture has changed. I hate his procedurals, but Moonves is right.

  5. This message is for Les Moonves, who I haven’t found another address for. When Mr. Moonves fired Don Imus I figured it was probably the appropriate thing to do but unless he fires David Letterman I will know that Moonves is just as hypocritical and politically motivated as most executives. However, unless he does fire Letterman, I and a host of others plan a full boycott of CBS and any of its connecting business and/or advertisers. We will also give up our most favorite TV program(s) {the CSI shows} to demonstrate that right is right and wrong is wrong and Mr. Moonves, you will be our next target for firing!

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