• The Hollywood Reporter on LinkedIn
  • Follow THR on Pinterest

Moonves: NBC likely to keep Olympics rights

CBS Corp. chief says a bid from his firm 'depends on pricing'

NEW YORK -- CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves said Monday he feels NBC is likely to keep future Olympics broadcast rights and predicted Howard Stern is likely to remain on satellite radio.

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Moonves lauded NBC for doing a "spectacular job" with its coverage of the Winter Olympics. That showed in the ratings and might mean less of a loss than NBC Universal and General Electric had originally predicted, he said.

Could CBS bid for future Olympics rights? "It all depends on pricing," Moonves said. "We'd always look at it." But he emphasized that his firm would not go in to lose more than $250 million dollars, as NBC brass has forecast. (NBC has rights to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.)

Asked if he thinks radio shock-jock Stern will return to terrestrial radio after his contract ends at the end of the year, Moonves said: "No, I do not. I don't think Mel (Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM Satellite Radio) is going to let him go."

Meanwhile, in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC's David Faber, portions of which aired on the network on Monday, CBS and Viacom chairman and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone said he wants Paramount to remain part of Viacom "forever." He also touted his relationships with Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg.

According to a CNBC transcript, Faber asked about some industry and Wall Street analysts' suggestions that Viacom should sell Paramount.

He argued that it also wouldn't create long-term shareholder value. "It's not in the long-term interest of these companies to do what you just suggested," he said. "Because we're the best. Why should we merge with less than the best? We are the best companies."

Redstone argued that owning film production is key for content companies: "Control is everything. If you don't know it, ask Ted Turner," he said. "Control is everything, because when you have control, you control your own destiny."

Asked about consolidation on the studio front beyond MGM, Redstone said: "I see very little ... I see no consolidation among the major companies."

He also said that a lack of mergers is good for the business and consumers. "Let them each be on their own, do their best to create good product," Redstone said.