Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO, was his usual sunny self at the Paley Center confab in Los Angeles Sept. 15, bandying about terms like "win" and "top of our game" and "bright future" and mentioning CBS's top spot among the broadcast networks more than a few times. Moonves also took some shots, chastising a former network chief, as he's done before, for saying network TV is dead, and describing a recent encounter with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, who Moonves said used to be adamant about not paying out retrans while with Comcast, but has sounded a different note after the merger with NBC.
Moonves also denounced the annual network upfront presentations, calling it a "silly system."
But one concept he did not take a poke at was Netflix. While some leaders at content companies are squeamish about the digital distributor's forays into programming, Moonves said a successful Netflix means a successful CBS. "He who has the most content wins," he said, referring to CBS' prodigious library. "We root for them so they can buy our content. We view them as a friend."