Les Moonves, one of the most powerful men in media, is leaving his position as chairman and CEO of CBS amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him, the company announced Sunday.
It also concludes a months-long battle for control of CBS between Moonves and the company’s controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone. The CBS board is being reshaped, with six new directors, and Redstone is repeating her vow to consider new bids from potential buyers.
CBS appears eager to publicly distance itself from Moonves, already pulling his bio from the corporate website. It wasn’t that way when Leslie Roy Moonves first came to CBS in 1995 as president of entertainment, after a successful stint as head of Warner Bros. TV, where he oversaw the development of hits such as Friends and ER. Prior to Warner Bros, he had been at Lorimar, home of Dallas.
The organization could position CBS for a procurement. however the corporate is additionally facing some continuing reputational risk. there’s widespread scrutiny concerning the prospect of Moonves being paid tens of innumerable greenbacks on his resolution the door.
Moonves is one in every of the media world’s highest paid CEOs, thus his severance package would commonly be generous, even jumbo.
But an enormous payout to Moonves might stir stockholder ire in light-weight of the disturbing harassment and assault allegations that have amassed against him.
With those optics in mind, CBS same Sunday night that Moonves and CBS can give $20 million to organizations that support the #MeToo movement and other teams fighting for geographical point equity for girls.
The donation, which can be created in real time, can commence of any severance that Moonves may eventually be given.
Earlier within the day, a supply same that Moonves stands to earn upward of $100 million.
The first rung on his climb to the highest of CBS was turning around its flagship broadcast network, that remained his alpha and omega for the remainder of his run whilst the corporate acquired alternative assets. within the mid-1990s, CBS was light-years removed from its current front-running state. The network had lost moneymaking NFL rights and in prime-time sat within the ratings cellar, clinging to old school shows just like the decade-old Murder She Wrote.
Moonves, with an oversized Rolodex and showman’s instincts, displayed a knack for assembling programming lineups and he presently semiconductor diode the network from worst to initial. The core hits were program everyone Loves Raymond, CSI and reality television’s initial blockbuster, Survivor. because the twentieth century gave thanks to the twenty first, CBS would occupy the No. one spot in total viewers, an area it’s command for fifteen of the past sixteen years. The turnaround stratified with those pulled off by Fred Silverman at ABC’s within the 1970s and Brandon Tartikoff at NBC within the 1980s.
Some talent galled beneath Moonves’ leadership over time. The Raymond cast staged a holdout, exigent higher salaries, and former CBS Radio heavyweight Howard Stern went into open revolt, donning a T-shirt that same “I Hate Les Moonves” and railing on the air concerning practice before effort for double star XM.
“These ar a lot of various claims, these ar six ladies all of them on the record, also describing a lot of serious allegations,” Farrow same on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” shortly when The new yorker printed the followup. “This includes multiple allegations of either physically forced or coerced perversion. It includes a case that resulted during a criminal investigation.”
Moonves told Farrow during a statement that the “appalling accusations during this article ar untrue.”
He same he had accordant relations with 3 of the ladies named by The new yorker “some twenty five years agone before I came to CBS.” He reiterated that he ne’er abused his power and same he will solely surmise that the allegations “are egression currently for the primary time, decades later, as a part of a cooperative effort by others to destroy my name, my name and my career.”
In making an attempt to answer that question, Moonves’ interim successor, Joseph Ianniello, isn’t likely to veer too off from his mentor’s approach and will have a tough time differentiating himself. during a analysis note, Cowen & Co.’s Doug Creutz same Ianniello is “well revered on the road as associate operator and communicator,” however also added, “Ianniello is related to Moonves, and sexual harassment allegations have extended to the general culture of the corporate.”
In May, Moonves delivered a number of his last public comments of his 24-year run at CBS throughout the company’s annual direct event at Carnegie Hall — an event seriously vulnerable by the legal fireworks (now moot) between CBS and National Amusements.
The crowd greeted him with a credit and therefore the Long Island-reared executive cracked jokes in his gravelly baritone initially before transitioning to one thing “bigger than American state.” whereas at the time the gravity of that moment seemed to be the battle for management with National Amusements, it’s conjointly clear on reflection that Farrow’s reportage was well under way.
“Think what number times have you’ve detected that this nice, vital, powerful medium may be a issue of the past, aiming to get replaced by everything from satellite dishes to your family toaster,” Moonves same. “But broadcasting has undergone each single challenge. From the tape machine to the DVR to OTT, each supposed threat has clothed to represent a serious chance.”