Leslie Moonves

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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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."

Highlights
Leslie Moonves on the controversy over dividing the teams on the reality show Survivor by race
04:30
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
05:02
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
03:04
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Friends
03:50
Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
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

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Leslie Moonves on his first TV role, a small part on Barbary Coast
02:20

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

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Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
04:30
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

CSI: Miami

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

CSI: NY

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Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

Cosby

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Leslie Moonves on making the deal to bring a new Bill Cosby show to CBS
01:37

Dallas

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Leslie Moonves on working at Lorimar Telepictures, which was producing Dallas at the time
01:06

ER

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Leslie Moonves on the process of audience testing for ER
04:38
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER
02:31
Leslie Moonves on the casting and scheduling of ER
05:26
Leslie Moonves on "stealing" ER from NBC
01:35

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Leslie Moonves on the postponement of the 2001 Emmy Awards due to 9/11
01:23

Everybody Loves Raymond

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Friends

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Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
07:52
Leslie Moonves on the casting of Friends
03:50

Late Show with David Letterman

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Leslie Moonves on his "More with Les" segments on the Late Show with David Letterman
02:42

Survivor

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Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor and the importance of casting the show
08:57
Topics

9/11

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Leslie Moonves on 9/11 and CBS' coverage
04:38

George W. Bush

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Leslie Moonves on the CBS News "Memogate" controversy about George W. Bush's military service
04:13

Media Consolidation

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Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
03:04
Leslie Moonves on the changing ownership of CBS over his tenure
06:15

Minorities

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Leslie Moonves on the controversy over dividing the teams on the reality show Survivor by race
04:30

Studio and Network Management

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Leslie Moonves on the process of audience testing for ER
04:48
Leslie Moonves on the state of CBS when he arrived in 1995
06:14
Leslie Moonves on running a network
03:23
Professions

Actor

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Leslie Moonves on his early acting career and the thrill of being on a production lot
02:20

Television Executive

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
05:02
Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
03:04
Genres

Comedy Series

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Leslie Moonves on the sitcom genre
03:21

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Leslie Moonves on the CBS 9/11 tribute
02:48

News and Documentary

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Leslie Moonves on CBS News during his tenure
06:52

Reality TV

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Leslie Moonves on getting Survivor on the air, casting the show
10:07
People

Jennifer Aniston

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Jennifer Aniston on Friends
01:12

Peter Boyle

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Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Kevin Bright

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Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
04:40

Jerry Bruckheimer

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Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
04:30

Mark Burnett

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Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor
08:57

Danny Cannon

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Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

George Clooney

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of George Clooney on ER
02:08

Bill Cosby

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Leslie Moonves on making the deal to bring a new Bill Cosby show to CBS
01:37

Katie Couric

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Leslie Moonves on CBS News anchor Katie Couric
01:42

Courteney Cox

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Courtney Cox on Friends
00:27

David Crane

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Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
04:40

Michael Crichton

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Leslie Moonves on the development of ER
02:31

Bob Daly

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Leslie Moonves on working with Bob Daly at Warner Bros
06:32
Leslie Moonves on his negotiations to join CBS in 1995 and the state of the network at the time
06:14

Ann Donahue

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49

Tom Freston

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Leslie Moonves on Tom Freston
01:13

Brad Garrett

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Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Peter Golden

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Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
08:06

Gregory Harrison

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Leslie Moonves on working at Gregory Harrison's theater production company early in his career
04:59

Richard Hatch

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Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor
08:57

Patricia Heaton

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Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Saul Ilson

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Leslie Moonves beginning his career as an executive at Columbia, before moving to 20th Century Fox Television
03:08

David Janollari

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Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
04:40

Kelly Kahl

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Leslie Moonves on scheduling Survivor
01:42

Mel Karmazin

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Leslie Moonves on Mel Karmazin
00:43

Jeffrey Katzenberg

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Leslie Moonves on Jeffrey Katzenberg offering him a job at Disney
02:11

Marta Kauffman

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Leslie Moonves on the development of Friends
04:40

David E. Kelley

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Leslie Moonves on the programming of ER and Chicago Hope
01:34

David Letterman

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Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21
Leslie Moonves on his "More with Les" segments on the Late Show with David Letterman
02:42

Warren Littlefield

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Leslie Moonves beginning his career as an executive at Columbia, before moving to 20th Century Fox Television
03:08

Chuck Lorre

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Leslie Moonves on his maintaining business relationships
02:00

Julianna Margulies

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Julianna Margulies on ER
00:22

Ghen Maynard

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Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor
08:57

Sanford Meisner

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Leslie Moonves on studying acting uner Sanford Meisner
05:39

Carol Mendelsohn

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49

Matthew Perry

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Matthew Perry on Friends
01:39

Dan Rather

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Leslie Moonves on the CBS News "Memogate" controversy about George W. Bush's military service
04:13

Sumner M. Redstone

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Leslie Moonves on Sumner Redstone
01:11

Lee Rich

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Leslie Moonves on being recruited to Lorimar by Lee Rich
03:33

Doris Roberts

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Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Phil Rosenthal

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
Leslie Moonves on the development, casting and programming of Everybody Loves Raymond
05:21

Jeff Sagansky

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Matthew Perry on Friends
01:39
Leslie Moonves on the development of ER
02:31

Eriq La Salle

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Eriq La Salle on ER
01:11

William Shatner

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Leslie Moonves on his first TV role, a small part (delivering a telegram to William Shatner) on Barbary Coast
02:20

Fred Silverman

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Leslie Moonves on his role as CBS network president
03:04

Nina Tassler

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Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
05:02
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
08:06
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
04:30

Nancy Tellem

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Leslie Moonves on his philosophy of assembling a management team
05:02
Leslie Moonves on his philosophy and strategy of content and scheduling
08:06
Leslie Moonves on developing Survivor
08:57

Larry Tisch

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Leslie Moonves on his negotiations to join CBS in 1995 and the state of the network at the time
06:14

John Wells

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Leslie Moonves on the development of ER
02:31

Dick Wolf

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Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

Noah Wyle

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Leslie Moonves on the casting of Noah Wyle on ER
00:11

Anthony Zuiker

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Leslie Moonves on what makes a good showrunner
02:49
Leslie Moonves on the development of CSI
04:30
Leslie Moonves on the success of CSI franchise
03:15

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