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TV TITANS BUZZ ABOUT MOONVES MOVE

CAA’s Michael Ovitz isn’t the only one whose future whereabouts are prompting a flurry of rumors.

The network TV industry remains constantly abuzz about the plans of Warner Bros. TV president Leslie Moonves, who’s nearing the end of his existing deal at the studio (Variety, May 15-21).

Moonves’ timing could hardly be better, coming shortly after his division placed a staggering 17 shows on the Big Three networks and Fox Broadcasting – a figure that doesn’t include three shows for the sister WB Network, back-up orders or syndicated fare. Just counting its 20 series for fall, Warner Bros. will be producing 13 primetime hours each week, nearly on par with the Fox network.

Since the development season came to a close there’s been persistent speculation that Moonves might be lured to CBS in a position analogous to that of his buddy Don Ohlmeyer, who serves as president of NBC, West Coast. Moonves has also been mentioned as a natural candidate for a high-ranking MCA slot once the management situation there begins to crystallize.

Those who know Moonves (who was unavailable for comment and isn’t confiding even to industry chums about his status) hasten to add that it’s just as likely the exec will stay at Warner Bros. – almost certainly with a sweetened deal – if the itch to tackle a new challenge doesn’t get to him.

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