You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Strauss Zelnick Among New CBS Board Members, Moonves Exit Announcement Imminent

Industry veteran Strauss Zelnick is among the new board members coming to CBS Corp. as a massive shakeup of the company looms later today with the departure of longtime chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves amid a cascade of sexual assault allegations.

Formal announcement of Moonves’ ouster is expected within a few hours. Zelnick, founder of ZMC and a former Fox and Columbia Pictures executive, is one of six new board members who will be installed on the 14-member panel in keeping with CBS controlling shareholder National Amusements Inc.’s desire to freshen CBS’ board of directors. Richard Parsons, former chairman of Time Warner, was already in line to join CBS’ board.

Moonves’ top lieutenant, CBS chief operating officer Joe Ianniello, will be named interim CEO while the company mounts a search for Moonves’ permanent successor.

CBS filed suit against its controlling shareholder in May as Moonves and NAI president Shari Redstone clashed over control and the long-term vision for the company. The settlement news to come will include the end of the litigation and the exit agreement with Moonves. Moonves’ severance package will not be determined until the close of CBS’ internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct first raised in a July 27 expose published by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker.

The settlement contains provisions designed to give CBS some autonomy from NAI and to allow the company to put itself on the block for sale. A source close to the situation said the settlement spells out a process for the board to evaluate M&A overtures, although that was disputed by another source with knowledge of the agreement. One source of friction between Moonves and a majority of CBS board members has been allegations that Redstone rebuffed acquisition overtures for CBS in favor of her preference of merging CBS and Viacom, which NAI also controls.

The agreement also includes a commitment from NAI to refrain from pushing a Viacom merger for at least two years — that’s an effort to provide a runway for CBS to be sold as a standalone entity. The existing CBS board and Moonves balked at a reunion with Viacom because they believe CBS is more valuable on its own. NAI has repeatedly stated that it would not force a CBS-Viacom merger unless it was supported by the boards of both companies.

The agreement further spells out a board-review process for the CEO search that is designed to ensure Ianniello gets a fair shot at the permanent job.

The 11 independent board members of CBS took an aggressive stance against what they viewed as NAI’s interference with the governance process when it voted in May to issue a special dividend that would have the effect of diluting the size of NAI’s stake in CBS’ voting shares, taking it down from 80% to about 20%. That move sent both sides to court in Delaware to seek a legal ruling on the dividend.

As part of the settlement, CBS will rescind that special dividend. NAI will revise amendments to CBS’ bylaws that it made hastily in an effort to invalidate the board’s vote.

More to come

More TV

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most

    Fyre Festival Documentaries: The 10 Most Outrageous Moments

    It is perhaps only fitting that two documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, one of the most high-profile fraudulent failures in history, would arrive during the same week — a fitting cap on a tragicomedy of errors that, as both films outline in excruciating detail, unfolded like a slow-motion plane crash in the spring of [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • annapurna logo

    Annapurna TV Taps Amazon's Patrick Chu as Senior VP, Promotes Ali Krug

    Annapurna TV has brought on Patrick Chu as the division’s new senior VP. Prior to that, he had served as an executive for Amazon in drama, production, and development, where he oversaw small-screen adaptations of “Hanna” and “The Hunt.” He will develop and produce new TV projects, focusing on drama, at his new role at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content