CBS is mulling new security procedures for its Television City studio complex after a suicidal gun-waving man broke into the net’s West Coast headquarters, prompting the evacuation of 800 employees.
“We will review what happened,” CBS topper Leslie Moonves told Daily Variety during a break in the net’s annual affil conference in Las Vegas. Moonves declined to specify what steps the net might take, but a net spokesman added CBS would do all it can to protect staffers.
“If we see a way that we can improve something, we will do it,” the spokesman said. “Our highest priority is the safety of our employees.”
Security had already been beefed up post-Sept. 11, but Moonves noted that “when you have a man with a gun breaking through a gate,” it would have been hard for Eye security to do much more than it did. As it is, security was able to quickly contain the intruder, 31-year-old Raymond Derouen.
Derouen, who crashed through a security gate in his car late Tuesday afternoon, then holed up inside the Television City complex for more than four hours, ultimately shot himself in the stomach about 9:30 p.m. He remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
There was no apparent connection between CBS and Derouen. Police are waiting for him to recover enough to interview him about possible motives.
Biz as usual
For the most part, Eye staffers returned to work as normal on Wednesday.
Sudsers “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” — disrupted by Tuesday’s evacuation of the Los Angeles facility — returned to their regular production schedules Wednesday morning.
“The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn” was on a planned weeklong hiatus, and wasn’t affected at all. Gamer “The Price Is Right” had already wrapped taping for the day just prior to the standoff.
“Things are back to normal,” an Eye spokesman said, noting that the filled studio parking lot indicates most people, while likely shaken up by the incident, returned to business as usual.
A CBS spokesman said the gate that Derouen rammed into is now fixed, but he declined to give specifics on how security might be beefed up in the future.
But CBS execs have done everything in their power to protect staffers in a post-Sept. 11 environment, he said.
A random gunman tearing through the building looking to kill himself “was not a situation where protocol like showing your I.D. (or) searching your bags is going to stop anything,” the spokesman said.
Moonves, who was flying to Las Vegas when the incident started to unfold, was quick to praise the Eye’s security team, as well as Mike Klausman, the net’s senior VP of West Coast operations and engineering. “They handled everything terrifically,” he said.
Rivals status quo
Word around town Wednesday was that other nets aren’t looking to drastically overhaul their security systems — already tight in reaction to recent warnings of possible terrorist attacks on the entertainment biz.
“We’ve thoroughly examined our procedures and are confident with those standards,” said an NBC spokesperson.
(Melissa Grego in Las Vegas contributed to this report.)