Newly crowned Viacom Inc. co-chief operating officer Les Moonves is Howard Stern’s new boss. That’s a tough job for anyone, but Moonves has it especially tough. Stern’s gushing affection for exiting Viacom president Mel Karmazin is both legendary and rare.
Yet it’s understandable: The exec was a human shield for Stern during many indecency wars.
More problematic is Stern’s very public dislike of Moonves.
When CBS subsidiary King World canceled Stern’s Saturday-night TV program in 2001, the shock jock opened fire.
“Les Moonves is a snake, and nobody should do business with him,” Stern said at the time. “I’m going to the pet store. I’m buying a snake, and I’m going to name him Les Moonves. Les the creep.”
Last year, the “King of All Media” roasted Moonves for cutting a deal with reality producer Mike Fleiss.
“I’ve been listening to this crap all day,” Stern said, alleging that Fleiss stole the Are You Hot? series concept from him. “My agent was on the phone, saying, ‘Can you believe Les?’”
Stern also accused Moonves of burying Kane, a proposed TV series that Stern was scheduled to executive-produce.
After Karmazin’s resignation last week, Stern grumbled to listeners about his new circumstances. “I have a contract, and, if I walk out, they’ll sue [me],” he said. “I can’t leave right today, but, believe me, I’ll be gone in a month.”
Asked about the future of Infinity jocks like Stern, Moonves responded, “It will be an important part of my job to make these guys happy, and I intend to do that.”
Good luck, Les. A clock that is posted on howardstern.com is counting down the 19 months remaining on Stern’s contract.