Les Moonves Confident 'CSI' Will Crush Leno: 'By A Lot'

As Jeff Zucker foists his last hopes for NBC on Leno and his arsenal of funny newspaper-clipping typos, his arch nemesis—future galactic despot Les Moonves—couldn't help but engage in a favorite pastime:

An old-fashioned, TV honcho dick-measuring contest! Talking today at the same New York media conference where Zucker dropped jaws by announcing his plan to scale back on programming hours, Moonves temporarily blinded the audience with a smile, before pledging that it wouldn't be long before David Caruso would be scraping Leno off the bottom of his Italian loafers. THR reports:

"I'm here to tell you the model ain't broke," Moonves told the UBS conference late Wednesday morning. "You can still make a lot of money in network television. We like 10 o'clock shows."

"For NBC, probably a very good move," Moonves said. "For us, it wouldn't be a good move. We are winning four of five nights at 10 p.m." [...]

"I would bet anyone who would like to bet that 'CSI: Miami' will beat Jay by a lot," Moonves said. "Remember: by a lot."

Probably true, but that doesn't make it any less satisfying to hear—almost as satisfying as the image it conjures of a beet-red Zucker submitting to a stress-reducing neck massage from Ben "Magic Fingers" Silverman, who comfortingly whispers, "Shhhhh...Just focus on Jay's chin...We're golden, J.Z., golden..." into his ear.