CBS CEO Les Moonves On News Division: ‘We wouldn’t be a network without it’

By Alex Weprin 

Yesterday CBS CEO Les Moonves was interviewed as part of the HRTS “Newsmaker” series. Among many other topics, Moonves discussed his network’s new morning show, and the state of broadcast news as a whole. He also briefly addressed the long-rumored on again off again partnership with CNN.

With regards to the revamped “Early Show,” Moonves was bullish on the new concept:

“To do a poor imitation of the Today Show or GMA is not the way to go,” Moonves said. “It’s going to be a different kind of show.”

Given the unusual pairing of Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Erica Hill, and the statements made by CBS News executives, it certainly sounds like it will be different.

Moonves was also bullish on broadcast news as a whole, though he acknowledged that it would never bring in the money that the entertainment side of the business does:

“The news division is never going to be a major profit center, but we wouldn’t be a network without it,” he said.

Finally, he poured cold water on a CNN deal, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.

“The CNN thing, we’ve tried a few times, it just doesn’t work,” he said.

News executives have said that the sheer size of the two companies, combined with union issues and disagreements over things such as digital strategy led to any sort of a deal being a long-shot to begin with.