Les Moonves Defends ‘Moderate’ Stephen Colbert From Attacks on the Right

CBS chief executive Les Moonves said the political right has nothing to fear from Stephen Colbert, even though the comedian has built his reputation on making fun of conservatives.

“You know what? Ironically, Stephen Colbert is much more moderate than people think he is,” Moonves said Wednesday at the Milken Institute Global Conference. “He’s a great social commentator, and that’s sort of what we want. That’s sort of what David Letterman has been.”

Moonves was speaking on a panel called Entertainment: The Big Picture, which was moderated by Janice Min, co-president of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter.

“Are you concerned,” asked Min, “about the political views he has expressed on Comedy Central?”

“If you’re referring to remarks by Rush Limbaugh that we’ve attacked the heartland of America, I would respectfully disagree with that assessment of who Stephen Colbert is,” Moonves said. “As one reporter put it, ‘So, suddenly Rush is going soft on Letterman?'”

Moonves, on Wednesday, talked up Colbert’s comedic skills and seemed confident that he’ll attract a large and politically diverse audience.

“We’re looking forward to the interest Stephen is going to bring. He’s very smart, he’s very funny, and it’s going to be exciting,” he said.

Full Article: The Hollywood Reporter.


Les Moonves Rates Aereo Case Outcome & Tackles CBS’ Late-Night Shuffle

When it came to late-night and all the changes happening at CBS, Moonves was both practical and full of praise. “Late-night is not what it used to be,” he said noting the generational and viewing shift from the era of Johnny Carson. “It is not as economically profitable as it used to be,” he added, and noted ‘the last few years it has been about bragging rights.” Still with David Letterman’s news earlier this month that he was stepping down in 2015, the longstanding host’s quickly announced replacement of Stephen Colbert plus Craig Ferguson‘s departure from CBS, at the end of the year, there’s a lot of change at the network. “These are decisions that are going to last 20 years hopefully, these are generational decisions,” said Moonves of bringing the Comedy Central host onboard and now finding a replacement for the 12:30 slot. Praising both newbie Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, Moonves told the Milken Conference he’d “rather have the best guy” than worry too much about ratings when it comes to late night.

Praising Colbert, Moonves also took a swipe – without mentioning names — at people like Chelsea Handler who had teased out their own names about maybe looking at the CBS late-night slots. As for who would take Ferguson’s spot, Moonves would only say that “between now and January 1 we have to figure it out.” He added, “this is really a wide-open territory.”

Full Article: Deadline.com

(Thank you to StephenSmile64 for the Tip!)

  • “Moonves told the Milken Conference he’d “rather have the best guy” than worry too much about ratings when it comes to late night”
    Less emphasis on the ratings? Now that’s rather interesting! And they most definitely got the best guy, that’s for sure.

  • Less emphasis on ratings? “He’s a great social commentator, and that’s *SORT OF* [my emphasis] what we want”? I call, well you know what. They DO care about ratings. Moonves’s job depends on getting good ratings. Bragging rights is about more than just bragging–it’s about the price you charge for ads and the money you make. Sure, you can certainly have lower ratings IF the audience is the cream-of-what-they-desire: eg. young men, between 18 and 34. But that group is notoriously hard to get and keep in the numbers they want. Rather than making me feel optimistic, this has the opposite effect. I think the man doth protest too much.