Kind Words From (and for) Moonves

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On CBS’ earnings call Tuesday, CEO Les Moonves was asked about competing with Fox’s new series, X-Factor, and Moonves had nothing but praise for the competition.

“I think X-Factor is going to be a big hit,” he said, adding that “the good thing about CBS is we’re sort of Idol-proof.”

He explained that, “Idol is still a monster. Idol is still a killer, I wish I had it. I hate that it’s on Fox, and X-Factor, I think, will be equally wonderful. But you know we are much more solid in the scripted area; we’re the most competitive towards it. So, I think it will do very well, but it won’t hurt us.”

Moonves showed a bit more bite when talking about how all networks, even NBC, did well in the upfronts. “It was a terrific market for all the networks, even some of the other networks who were doing high singles after coming in fourth place,” he said.

But the nicest comments on the call were about Moonves from his boss, CBS executive chairman Sumner Redstone. “Many of you would have heard me say that Les is a genius,” Redstone said. “Why? Because Les is a performer and operating CBS is a performance of a genius.”

Over the phone, it was hard to tell if Moonves was blushing.

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