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Leslie Moonves reups with CBS through ’17

Eye CEO's pact had been set to expire in 2015

Leslie Moonves doesn’t look like a guy who’s ready to retire anytime soon.

It came as no surprise to Eye insiders that CBS Corp. on Monday announced that it has extended the contract of its prexy-CEO by nearly 2 1/2 years, through June 30, 2017. His previous five-year pact, inked in 2010, ran through Feb. 22, 2015.

CBS noted that Moonves’ salary will remain “at its current level.” The Eye took some hits from corporate compensation watchdogs earlier this year when it disclosed that Moonves’ 2011 compensation reached $69.9 million, including salary and various bonuses.

“Leslie’s record as a CEO is not only among the best in media, it’s among the best in all of business,” said CBS Corp. chairman Sumner Redstone.

As with his previous pact, Moonves’ new deal allows him to serve as an executive adviser to CBS for an additional four years following the end of his contract. He also has an option to launch an Eye-funded TV and film production shingle, much as Peter Chernin did in 2009 after stepping down as News Corp. prexy.

Moonves has been with CBS since 1995, signing on as entertainment prexy. He went solo as prexy-CEO following the split of Viacom and CBS in 2006. The longevity that Moonves and his close-knit team of top execs have enjoyed is admired in the biz as one of the cornerstones of the Eye’s success. It also stands in contrast to the high level of turnover during the same period at rival media congloms.

“I take great pride in all the tremendous success we’ve enjoyed at CBS,” Moonves said. “And the good news is that I feel even more enthusiastic about what my terrific team and I will accomplish going forward. I am very gratified that my relationship with CBS will continue into the future, and I look forward to building on all of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”

CBS has ranked as the nation’s most-watched TV network for eight of the past 10 television seasons. Moonves in recent years has sought to diversify operations by investing more in cable and expanding the scope of its international production and distribution activities.

CBS’ stock price took a beating a few years ago during the economic crisis but Wall Street has been high on the Eye for many months. Eye’s share price has gained 25% for the year to date, closing Monday (before Moonves’ extension was announced) with a gain of 26¢ to $34.04.

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