CBS honcho Les Moonves had a week from hell. It started with a Times highlighting how his salary keeps going up while revenues at his beleaguered company keep going down. Then he had to answer to news department staff about leaks that made Katie Couric look like a lame duck in the anchor chair at CBS Evening News. Now he's said by Nikki Finke's sources to be "royally screwed" after fumbling negotiations with Viacom, a sibling company in the Sumner Redstone media empire. Moonves had been trying to cut the amount CBS' Showtime was paying for Paramount movies, but Paramount said "screw this" and decided to form its own cable channel along with studios MGM and Lionsgate. Here's why the whole situation is especially awkward, according to the Times:
The new venture could create some awkward moments around Hollywood. Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, is close friends with Harry E. Sloan, the chief executive of MGM, and Jon Feltheimer, the chief executive of Lionsgate. A spokesman for CBS declined to comment.
I think this just means Les Moonves has to dance around certain topics during lunch meetings or dinner parties. That's not so awkward. You know what's awkward? Having lunch with a crazy Scientologist who is about to mock you in a movie, per Redstone's recent rendezvous with Tom Cruise at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Last month Mr. Redstone, who is the controlling shareholder in both Viacom and CBS, was asked at an investor conference about the two companies entering each other's business. "They were always intended to be independent companies, free to compete with each other," he said.