Before CBS Chairman Les Moonves got around to knocking his arch­rival, NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, at CBS’ upfront presentation last week, he warmed up at a press breakfast.
In less than an hour, we counted 11 jabs that Moonves took at Zucker, most of them self-serving. Unlike the previous back-and-forth sparring between the two, Zucker—perhaps preoccupied with his network’s fourth-place finish in the 18-49 demo—went relatively Moonves-free during his appearances. A sampling of Moonves zingers:“Not to be accused of being cruel, but Joey is down 59% from Friends in 18-49, because that’s all they care about. Will & Grace and The Apprentice are each down more than 40%, and they renewed this schedule intact.”On CSI: Miami, he said, “Its only competition is Medium, which by the way Paramount produces [like CBS, part of Viacom]. We were very glad to give Jeff Zucker his only hit of last year.”“I thought it was interesting that, at the upfront, Jeff Zucker actually said that Law & Order performed so well, it actually cut into the CSI: New York lead. What he forgot to say was that they were on the air for 15 years, and this was a new show.”Moonves, however, did have one bit of praise for NBC, saying they made a smart move buying football for Sunday nights.