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TCA: CBS’ Tassler: ‘Our Customers Are Also Our Competitors’

Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Summer Press Tour

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Nina Tassler, chairman, CBS Entertainment, stressed the blurring distinction between TV and streaming companies in the current media landscape during her executive session Monday at the TCA summer press tour, saying, "We're all part of one big content universe.”

“Our customers are also our competitors,” she said, citing examples such as Netflix – which competes on the programming side but buys CBS programming for its service – and Fox – the studio behind the net’s new comedy Life in Pieces.

The CBS chief pointed to ownership of several of its properties – including the Late Late Show With James Corden and the upcoming Late Show With Stephen Colbert – as the key to keeping the company in “prime position” financially.

While the network remains the “all important content engine,” Tassler, stressed the growing importance of measuring programming beyond overnights and demos.

“On whatever platform they watch, counting our viewers and monetizing the content – that’s key,” Tassler said. “We make successful programs that people want to watch and as long as it’s monetized, we win.”

Tassler continued to echo that CBS doesn’t have one equation across the board for garnering a successful revenue stream, with each show necessitating a different strategy.

“As long as programs continue to perform they have value across all platforms,” she said.

The New Era of Colbert
When asked how Stephen Colbert – whose late night show debuts Sept. 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET – will differ from his predecessor David Lettermen, Tassler said it may not be as strikingly different as expected.

“He considers himself to be of Dave’s generation. He is a real student of late night TV,” she said.

Tassler teased that viewers will not only see Colbert’s signature humor but a more serious side at times, with interviews that are more substantive.

“He’s very of the moment.”

Single Camera Comedies Breaking the Mold
Tassler defended CBS entering into the single-camera comedy foray (Life in Pieces and Angel from Hell) after previously saying multi-cam was a better fit for the net.

“I said they were a better fit, but we stay open,” she said.  The shows scored just as well with audiences and during screenings, she noted, which made the decision appealing.

“It’s a good change for us.”

When the ‘Dome’ Comes Down
Tassler would not confirm whether there will be another season of its hit summer series Under the Dome, but said that the dome coming down at the end of the season will “open up a host of storytelling opportunities.”

On the topic of renewals, Tassler said the fate of drama Person of Interest hasn’t been determined yet.