There was a time when generously betoothed CBS despot Les Moonves would invite the media to an informal chat over breakfast on the morning of his network's upfront, where he granted journalists an intimate opportunity to watch gape-mouthed as he slathered his bagels with a schmear made from the steaming entrails of his enemies (namely, NBC's Jeff Zucker). Today, however, the NY Times' Virginia Heffernan blogs that Moonves may have finally lost his edge:
Les Moonves is not a warrior anymore. "I had to be a counterpuncher," he says, when the network was in last place. "The troops" were out there, fighting the other schedules. "Now it's more of a game," he says.
"This is a kinder, gentler Les Moonves," he says. "I love everybody! I love everybody!"
We cannot, will not, believe that Moonves has gone soft and is ready to retire his unparalleled collection of gleaming, rival-eviscerating surgical instruments. He's obviously setting us all up for some kind of surprise at CBS's presentation later today, perhaps involving actual footage of Moonves and some of his executives herding, and then brutally clubbing, an ostentation of peacocks bearing the NBC letters, a shocking reassurance that he's not ready to hang it up quite yet.