Skip to main content

CBS Chief Moonves Wants to Get Back to Table With Writers

CBS head honcho Les Moonves hinted at an industry conference Thursday that the television giant is trying to restart negotiations with the striking Writers Guild of America, but offered no details as to what that those efforts entail.

Moonves, speaking at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications conference in Phoenix, stressed that the writers strike is not having an adverse impact on the network so far.

“We sincerely hope that the talks begin shortly and that there is a resolution,” Moonves said. “I can tell you there are some steps that are being taken to push that ahead, and we hope that reasonable people prevail and that we can make a go of it in the near future.”

But later in the conference Moonves said that he is “guardedly optimistic that it [the strike] will be over in the next few months.”

The WGA went on strike on Nov. 5, and talks with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down in December. The dispute has centered on residuals for new media and the union’s bid to get jurisdiction over animation and reality shows.

In the meantime, Moonves said that the strike is not having an adverse effect on CBS’ bottom line.

“We can finish this television season just fine,” Moonves said. “The television season ends at the end of May, obviously revenue will be down somewhat because ratings will be down. We have some live football games left, the NCAA [March Madness] basketball tournament is coming up, we have reality programming that is available, we have some original programming. The CBS schedule repeats better than anybody else’s schedule, because our procedural dramas – the CSI’s of the world – repeat extremely well. Our revenue will be down somewhat, but the cost of producing original programming will be down more.”