×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Chief Les Moonves on ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ Netflix and All Access

CBS could have sold “Star Trek: Discovery” to a streaming service for a lot of money, but the media company decided to keep the latest installment in the ongoing adventures of the Starship Enterprise for itself. Now, the futuristic series anchors a lineup of original programming on CBS All Access, the company’s newly launched subscription on-demand service.

“We could have sold it to Netflix for a lot more money, but you can be darn sure All Access wouldn’t be doing as well,” CBS chief Les Moonves told an audience of Wall Street movers and shakers at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday. It was important to have original content, he added, noting that consumers were willing to pay for the service because “Star Trek” has “a built-in fanbase that was pretty emphatic.”

Other All Access programs include “The Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight” and a reboot of “The Twilight Zone” from “Get Out’s” Jordan Peele, a director that Moonves labeled “about as hot as you can get.”

With shows like “NCIS” and “Bull,” CBS caters to an older demographic. Streaming is changing that, said Moonves, noting that All Access is helping attract younger crowds and that the average age of viewers on the platform is about 20 years younger than the broadcast audience.

“That bodes well for the future,” said Moonves.

The veteran programmer did admit that CBS finds itself punching up now that Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and other tech-centric companies with capacious balance sheets are getting into the content business. They have the capacity to outbid CBS on any hot script or package that comes to market. It cuts both ways, however. Those companies are also buying programs the CBS creates and produces, enriching the company even as it forces Moonves to write bigger checks.

“The game keeps changing,” said Moonves, adding, “There’s always a new buyer. There’s always a new kind of way of doing business.”

More TV

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content