The appearance came after Moonves skipped out on the network’s annual “Lox with Les” pre-upfront press breakfast this morning.
Embattled CBS CEO Leslie Moonves took the stage at Carnegie Hall to thunderous applause, followed by a long and raucous standing ovation from the packed theater gathered for CBS’s annual upfront presentation on Wednesday.
It appeared, if ever so briefly, that he was holding back tears in what could very well be Moonves’ last upfront presentation atop the company he has poured his life into for more than 20 years. At about the same moment, a judge in a Delaware court granted a temporary restraining order baring any interference by Shari Redstone – CBS’ majority stakeholder.
When the applause finally died down, Moonves, having composed himself, quipped: “So how’s your week going?”
The exec, noting that he says makes the same promise every year, said he’d keep his remarks brief — only this year, he added added that he really meant it. The crowd laughed again, before the CEO moved into a pitch about the lingering value of broadcast TV and CBS Corp.’s vast portfolio. “At the CBS Corporation,” he said, “Our broadcast network is the crown jewel.”
Moonves has long been broadcast’s biggest cheerleader, even more so as the industry has been roiled – and seen its profits shrink – thanks to the digital disruption. “I personally consider CBS to be the greatest story ever told. The true survivor of this crazy business we all love,” said Moonves, who joined the company in 1995 as president of CBS Entertainment. “How many times have you heard that this great, vital, powerful medium is a thing of the past, going to be replaced by everything from satellite dishes to your toaster. At CBS we love winning, but we know lasting success is not only about winning now, but preparing ourselves to win in the future.”
His arrival on stage comes after Moonves was a no-show earlier in the day at the network’s press breakfast, a long standing tradition that is informally titled “Lox with Les.” His entertainment chief, Kelly Kahl and his programmer Thom Sherman attempted to fill the void, acknowledging that “Toast with Tom” and “Coffee with Kelly” didn’t have the same appeal.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter