×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Execs Field Staff Questions on Workplace Culture, $120 Million Marked for Moonves (EXCLUSIVE)

As CBS looks to find its footing after being rocked by a series of scandals, acting CEO Joseph Ianniello and other top executives took questions from employees on Tuesday about the company’s culture and future plans.

In the first of two planned live-blog sessions on the company’s internal employee web portal, Ianniello was asked Tuesday, “What will the company do with the $120 million it no longer has to pay out to Les Moonves?” — a reference to the amount of severance pay that had been due Moonves, ousted last year as CEO amid sexual-assault allegations, under his contract. The CBS board of directors voted in December to deny Moonves the $120 million, setting up a likely legal battle with the disgraced exec.

Ianniello thanked the questioner, then wrote, “Our priority is to continue to invest billions of dollars into the company in the form of our people and content. That’s the priority today and moving forward. Separate from that, there is an ongoing legal process regarding the $120 million that is yet to be determined.”

Moonves has continued to insist that workplace sexual encounters he engaged in were consensual. His attorney has publicly criticized the CBS board’s decision to deny him his severance, but has not yet challenged the decision legally. Moonves’ contract calls for any such dispute to go to arbitration.

Ianniello and other executives also fielded questions about the company’s corporate culture. One employee took aim at the forum of the live blog, which identified employees submitting questions by name, and suggested that an anonymous forum might be better. Ianniello wrote, “As you know, this is one of several feedback vehicles we have utilized as part of the ongoing conversation about our culture.” He continued, “We acknowledged that this forum was meant to be an open dialogue, unlike our survey which was anonymous. We are aware that some people are concerned about communicating in an open environment and plan to do more anonymous surveys in the future.”

Executives did not respond to several questions about CBS News, though Ianniello did promise that he would answer more queries on Wednesday in a second live-blog session. CBS News chief David Rhodes stepped down this month and was replaced by veteran producer Susan Zirinsky. The news division is also currently facing backlash after revealing a 2020 presidential election coverage team that doesn’t include black reporters or producers. CBS News subsequently announced that it will reveal additional campaign-team members at a later date.

More TV

  • EMPIRE: L-R: Toby Onwumere and Jussie

    Jussie Smollett's 'Empire' Character Ties the Knot as Actor's Future on Show Is Unclear

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the April 24th episode of “Empire.” Jussie Smollett’s character on “Empire” got married in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, but the actor’s ongoing assault controversy makes his future on the show uncertain. The episode, entitled “Never Doubt I Love,” was Smollett’s last confirmed appearance in [...]

  • Riverdale -- "Chapter Thirty-Three: Shadow of

    'Riverdale' Airs Luke Perry's Final Scene

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear The Reaper,” the April 24 episode of “Riverdale.” “Riverdale” has aired late actor Luke Perry’s final scene as Andrews patriarch Fred. In “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper,” the 19th episode of the third season of “Riverdale,” Archie (KJ Apa) was worried about [...]

  • "We Turn Up This Music Louder

    TV Review: 'The Red Line'

    For all that broadcast TV’s power has attenuated in recent years, what they choose to put on still means something — and, from a certain point of view, something more than the choices made by prestige outlets. After all, the reach of broadcasters is without parallel. They’re simply in that many more homes than prestige [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy Season 15

    Broadcast Bubble Shows 2019: What's Coming Back, What’s Not

    While many broadcast shows have already been picked up for next season, plenty of favorites are still waiting to learn their fates. Given that the broadcasters are currently evaluating this year’s crop of comedy and drama pilots, some current shows will unfortunately have to shuffle off to that great network in the sky, where they [...]

  • Elizabeth Olsen Wanda Vision

    Elizabeth Olsen Says Disney+ Series 'WandaVision' Is Set in 1950s

    “Avengers: Endgame” star Elizabeth Olsen tells Variety that “WandaVision,” the forthcoming Disney+ series about her superhero character, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, will be set in the 1950s. “There’s quite a few other comic books that we’re pulling from and it’s going to be Wanda and the Vision, and I think at the Disney+ launch chat, they [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Chiefs: Former Exec's Claim Network 'Has a White Problem' Is 'Disheartening,' 'Painful'

    Susan Zirinsky, president of CBS News, and Kelly Kahl, president of CBS Entertainment, sent emails to staff Tuesday expressing concern over claims made in an essay published in Variety in which CBS veteran Whitney Davis detailed racist discrimination and sexual harassment she witnessed and was subjected to at the network. In response, Zirinsky said Davis’ [...]

  • BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series

    BBC Studios Making Prince Charles Series for ITV

    ITV has greenlit a BBC Studios-produced series about Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. “Inside the Duchy” (working title) will follow the Prince of Wales over two one-hour episodes to mark his 50th year as the holder of the title of Duke of Cornwall. The producers said the series will give an unprecedented [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content