Moonves Closes Door on CBS-CNN Merger; Bewkes Keeps Network Options Open

By Chris Ariens Comment

JBewkesMoonves_3.3.jpgCBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves is ruling out a merger with CNN, while Time Warner’s CEO keeps his network options open.

Speaking this morning at the Deutsche Bank media and telecommunications conference Moonves says a deal with CNN is “not in the cards.”

“We’ve have five different discussions with CNN about doing something together, and it has appeared to be unmanageable,” Moonves says.

Meanwhile, during a session yesterday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, whose Cable News Channel shares resources and talent (Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta) with CBS News, isn’t ruling out a merger between CNN and a network news division. B&C reports Bewkes is leaving the door open while taking a shot at the broadcast news model.

News at the major networks is problematic – depending on the network. Maybe they need to rationalize the fairly high cost of broadcast network news that’s being put through a small half hour or hour day part segment everyday…We’re leaving it to them to solve their problems. Maybe we could help, because we’re here to help.

Bewkes went on to mention that CNN has doubled its profits in the last four years and has had among the highest earnings growth of any Time Warner asset over the last five years. “It’s doing fantastic.”