CBS Chief Glenn Geller on Leave After Heart Attack

Glenn Geller - TCA presentations-Publicity-H 2016
Monty Brinton/CBS

The 45-year-old programming executive, who informed staff in a Wednesday email, will take time off through May.

CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller suffered a mild heart attack recently. The 45-year-old programming executive is said to be in good shape, with a promising prognosis, but he will be taking leave from his job until late May.

Both Geller and CBS Corp president and CEO Leslie Moonves alerted network staff to the development in two Wednesday emails, stressing that Geller would be back at work after the network's upfront presentation in New York. 

Gellar's staff memo reads as follows: 

As many of you know, I experienced a mild heart attack recently and I’ve been resting at home for a couple of weeks. The good news is the doctors have given me an excellent report card and say I’m on track for a full recovery. The bad news is that pilot season and the Upfront isn’t the best environment to achieve that recovery. After consulting with my doctors, my husband, and my family, I plan to take off a few more weeks and return at the end of May. I’m so grateful for all the support I've received from Leslie and my 3rd floor colleagues over the past few days. While it will be very strange not being in the trenches with you during this crazy time of year, I have all the confidence in you — our creative teams and talented executives — shepherding our terrific pilots. I know you will all carry the CBS flag to Carnegie Hall with distinction. I’ll be watching with pride.

Gellar is not exaggerating in his description of the busy time of year. CBS, which just handed out early renewals for 16 shows for the 2017-18 broadcast season, is currently evaluating a larger than usual number of bubble shows. Geller also recently just wrapped his second pilot season, with the bulk of pickups and castings now in the books. (CBS' volume is on par with last season with nine dramas and eight comedies.) The network also put the finishing touches on a monster two-season renewal for The Big Bang Theory, TV's No. 1 scripted comedy, and handed out a straight-to-series order for prequel Young Sheldon, following prolonged negotiations with the Big Bang cast and producers Warner Bros. Television. (Stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch continue to hold out for salary parity.)

It's not immediately clear how much involvement, if any, Geller will have in decision-making during his leave. But it seems likely that Moonves, no stranger to the Carnegie Hall stage, will be playing host to media buyers come May.  

Read Moonves' memo below: 

To: All Department Heads at CBS Entertainment

By now you have heard the news about Glenn and his need to take some time off to get better. Fortunately, Glenn’s medical prognosis is good and he is recovering nicely. Our thoughts are with him and we are fully supportive of Glenn focusing on restoring himself to 100%.

At the same time, it’s clear that we must now adjust ourselves to a new situation as we finish our pilots and head into the Upfront. The good news is that, quite simply, there is no organization better equipped for the task at hand. 

Of course, Glenn’s leadership, hard work and creativity will be sorely missed. But the team at CBS Entertainment has been together a long time. There is no better group of executives across all of our departments.

You all know what to do, and will now need to step up with the same energy, dedication and passion that you bring to your jobs every day — and just a little bit more, given the situation. 

As always, I am here to help the team in any way achieve what we all want from this pilot season: great programming and a spectacular new schedule.

Thanks as always for your talent, your hard work and your support. And it goes without saying, we all wish Glenn a speedy recovery.