CBS Corp. president Leslie Moonves was in a feisty mood this morning at Communacopia, the Goldman Sachs media conference at the Grand Hyatt in New York. Not two minutes after stepping onstage, he took issue with host Anthony Noto’s prediction of modest growth for CBS Corp. “You’re being a little bit pessimistic,” said Moonves. When Noto joked that he should’ve worn protective headgear for the interview, Moonves shot back, “You have to allow me to take a few shots, because you’ve taken a few over the years.”
Moonves was also vocal about retransmission, repeatedly declaring that CBS “will get paid for our content.”
Regarding the new season, Moonves says he likes Shark best among the CBS rookies, calling James Woods “eminently watchable.” He also crowed about CSI: Miami besting Studio 60 in ratings last night, and touted the return of six out of eight rookie shows from last year. “If you bat .300, you’re an all-star,” said Moonves. “Having six out of eight return, we’re in the Hall of Fame.”
He also made light of numbers showing CBS to be down in the 18-49 demo. “We’re the old fogie network,” said Moonves. “We do not bow to the 18-49 God like some of our competitors.” Mentioning the average age of a 60 Minutes viewer being 60, he added, “We don’t give a damn about demographics.”
Notably, recently dismissed Viacom CEO Tom Freston didn’t merit a mention in the 40-minute chat.
By Michael Malone