NEW YORK — CBS Television and Cable CEO Peter Lund’s abrupt resignation Thursday cast a heavy pall over the network’s presentation of its fall schedule to advertisers.
By all accounts, CBS Entertainment president Leslie Moonves put on a great show at Carnegie Hall, but the exec could hardly bask in the glory of his moment in the spotlight. Moonves kept his cool at a Tavern on the Green party following the unveiling, where word of Lund’s departure spread like wildfire.
CBS execs were officially told to keep a tight lid on the day’s developments, but they couldn’t hide from the constantly circling reporters, and they privately grumbled at the “terrible timing.”
“It feels like I’ve been socked in the gut,” said one senior CBS executive. “This is surreal.”
Lund, who had participated in scheduling meetings all week and had dined with entertainment division executives the night before, was nowhere to be seen at Carnegie Hall or the party following the presentation.
Sources say Lund was a popular figure within the entertainment division, which was given a heads-up this morning that something was afoot. But the news came as a surprise to many execs, who learned about it only after the presentation.
Buyers generally applauded the schedule, but the presentation’s message that the network was on the upswing was undermined by the exec shakeup.
“It’s very sad,” one CBS source said. “We all love him.”