Leslie Moonves

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Leslie Moonves discusses his early years working as an actor, before producing for the theatre. He then details his early executive jobs at Twentieth Century Television and Lorimar, culminating in Lorimar's merger with Warner Bros. Television, where Moonves was instrumental in developing such hit series as Friends and ER. He then discusses his move to the "buyer's side" at CBS, where he ran CBS Entertainment. He talks about rebuilding the weak schedule of the network, and the development of such hit series as Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI and Survivor. He speaks about his rise in the corporate ranks to his position as President & CEO of CBS and his overall responsibilities, team management and network programming style. Dan Pasternack conducted the two-part interview in Los Angeles, CA on December 19 and December 20, 2006.

"I think when people look back at my career, they'll say I was a loyal guy, I built a great team and I knew how to appreciate talent and what they do."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Leslie Moonves on the controversy over dividing the teams on the reality show Survivor by race
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Friends
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early family life and education
On pursuing an acting career before transitioning to producing, where he realized his talent for organization
On beginning his career as an executive at Columbia, before moving to 20th Century Fox Television
On working at 20th Century Fox Television
On working at Lorimar Telepictures and his philosophy of what makes a good showrunner

Chapter 2

On Lorimar's purchase by Warner Bros and the team structure of his division
On the development, casting and programming of Friends
On the development, casting and programming of ER

Chapter 3

On his failed attempt to bring ER to CBS
On his negotiations to leave Warner Bros and join CBS in 1995 and the state of the network at the time
On joining CBS and going from a seller of programming to a buyer
On his first year at CBS
On the development, casting and programming of Everybody Love Raymond
On the sitcom genre
On his role as CBS network president

Chapter 4

On Westinghouse, then Viacom's acquisition of CBS and key executives Sumner Redstone, Mel Karmazin, and Tom Freston
On his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
On developing and casting Survivor; on diversity
On developing CSI

Chapter 5

On expanding the CSI franchise on CBS
On the CBS network news division, "memogate," and hiring Katie Couric as anchor
On his 9/11 and its aftermath
On the changing face of the industry 
On his appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman
On his future; his successes; and his advice to aspiring executives
Shows

Barbary Coast

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on his first TV role, a small part on Barbary Coast

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

CSI: Miami

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

CSI: NY

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

Cosby

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on making the deal to bring a new Bill Cosby show to CBS

Dallas

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on working at Lorimar Telepictures, which was producing Dallas at the time

ER

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on the process of audience testing for ER
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER
Leslie Moonves on the casting and scheduling of ER
Leslie Moonves on "stealing" ER from NBC

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on the postponement of the 2001 Emmy Awards due to 9/11

Everybody Loves Raymond

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Friends

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Friends

Late Show with David Letterman

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on his "More with Les" segments on the Late Show with David Letterman

Survivor

View Show Page
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor and the importance of casting the show
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Leslie Moonves on 9/11 and CBS' coverage

George W. Bush

View Topic
Leslie Moonves on the CBS News "Memogate" controversy about George W. Bush's military service

Media Consolidation

View Topic
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
Leslie Moonves on the changing ownership of CBS over his tenure

Minorities

View Topic
Leslie Moonves on the controversy over dividing the teams on the reality show Survivor by race

Studio and Network Management

View Topic
Leslie Moonves on the process of audience testing for ER
Leslie Moonves on the state of CBS when he arrived in 1995
Leslie Moonves on running a network
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Leslie Moonves on his early acting career and the thrill of being on a production lot

Television Executive

View Profession
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Leslie Moonves on the sitcom genre

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Leslie Moonves on the CBS 9/11 tribute

News and Documentary

View Genre
Leslie Moonves on CBS News during his tenure

Reality TV

View Genre
Leslie Moonves on getting Survivor on the air, casting the show
People

Jennifer Aniston

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Jennifer Aniston on Friends

Peter Boyle

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Kevin Bright

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends

Jerry Bruckheimer

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI

Mark Burnett

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor

Danny Cannon

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

George Clooney

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of George Clooney on ER

Bill Cosby

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on making the deal to bring a new Bill Cosby show to CBS

Katie Couric

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on CBS News anchor Katie Couric

Courteney Cox

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Courtney Cox on Friends

David Crane

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends

Michael Crichton

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER

Bob Daly

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on working with Bob Daly at Warner Bros
Leslie Moonves on his negotiations to join CBS in 1995 and the state of the network at the time

Ann Donahue

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner

Tom Freston

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on Tom Freston

Brad Garrett

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Peter Golden

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling

Gregory Harrison

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on working at Gregory Harrison's theater production company early in his career

Richard Hatch

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor

Patricia Heaton

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Saul Ilson

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves beginning his career as an executive at Columbia, before moving to 20th Century Fox Television

David Janollari

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends

Kelly Kahl

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on scheduling Survivor

Mel Karmazin

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on Mel Karmazin

Jeffrey Katzenberg

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on Jeffrey Katzenberg offering him a job at Disney

Marta Kauffman

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends

David E. Kelley

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the programming of ER and Chicago Hope

David Letterman

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
Leslie Moonves on his "More with Les" segments on the Late Show with David Letterman

Warren Littlefield

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves beginning his career as an executive at Columbia, before moving to 20th Century Fox Television

Chuck Lorre

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on his maintaining business relationships

Julianna Margulies

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Julianna Margulies on ER

Ghen Maynard

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor

Sanford Meisner

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on studying acting uner Sanford Meisner

Carol Mendelsohn

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner

Matthew Perry

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Matthew Perry on Friends

Dan Rather

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the CBS News "Memogate" controversy about George W. Bush's military service

Sumner Redstone

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on Sumner Redstone

Lee Rich

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on being recruited to Lorimar by Lee Rich

Doris Roberts

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Phil Rosenthal

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond

Jeff Sagansky

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Matthew Perry on Friends
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER

Eriq La Salle

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Eriq La Salle on ER

William Shatner

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on his first TV role, a small part (delivering a telegram to William Shatner) on Barbary Coast

Fred Silverman

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president

Nina Tassler

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI

Nancy Tellem

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor

Laurence A. Tisch

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on his negotiations to join CBS in 1995 and the state of the network at the time

John Wells

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER

Dick Wolf

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

Noah Wyle

View Person Page
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Noah Wyle on ER

Anthony Zuiker

View Interview Page
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise

All Interviews

Q
S